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Microbiol Spectr. 2017 Aug;5(4). doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.BAD-0015-2016.

The Potential of Probiotics as a Therapy for Osteoporosis.

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Department of Physiology.


Osteoporosis, characterized by low bone mass and micro-architectural deterioration of bone tissue with increased risk of fracture, can be categorized into two forms: primary and secondary, depending on whether it occurs as part of the natural aging process (estrogen deficiency) or as part of disease pathology. In both forms bone loss is due to an imbalance in the bone remodeling process, with resorption/formation skewed more toward bone loss. Recent studies and emerging evidence consistently demonstrate the potential of the intestinal microbiota to modulate bone health. This review discusses the process of bone remodeling and the pathology of osteoporosis and introduces the intestinal microbiota and its potential to influence bone health. In particular, we highlight recent murine studies that examine how probiotic supplementation can both increase bone density in healthy individuals and protect against primary (estrogen deficiency) as well as secondary osteoporosis. Potential mechanisms are described to account for how probiotic treatments could be exerting their beneficial effect on bone health.

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