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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Oct 1;102(10):3635-3646. doi: 10.1210/jc.2017-00513.

Association Between Gut Microbiota and Bone Health: Potential Mechanisms and Prospective.

Chen YC1,2,3, Greenbaum J2,3, Shen H2,3, Deng HW1,2,3.

Author information

Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510630, PR China.
Center of Bioinformatics and Genomics, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112.
Department of Global Biostatistics and Data Science, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112.



It has been well established that the human gut microbiome plays a critical role in the regulation of important biological processes and the mechanisms underlying numerous complex diseases. Although researchers have only recently begun to study the relationship between the gut microbiota and bone metabolism, early efforts have provided increased evidence to suggest an important association.

Evidence Acquisition:

In this study, we attempt to comprehensively summarize the relationship between the gut microbiota and bone metabolism by detailing the regulatory effects of the microbiome on various biological processes, including nutrient absorption and the intestinal mucosal barrier, immune system functionality, the gut-brain axis, and excretion of functional byproducts. In this review, we incorporate evidence from various types of studies, including observational, in vitro and in vivo animal experiments, as well as small efficacy clinic trails.

Evidence Synthesis:

We review the various potential mechanisms of influence for the gut microbiota on the regulation of bone metabolism and discuss the importance of further examining the potential effects of the gut microbiota on the risk of osteoporosis in humans. Furthermore, we outline some useful tools/approaches for metagenomics research and present some prominent examples of metagenomics association studies in humans.


Current research efforts, although limited, clearly indicate that the gut microbiota may be implicated in bone metabolism, and therefore, further exploration of this relationship is a promising area of focus in bone health and osteoporosis research. Although most existing studies investigate this relationship using animal models, human studies are both needed and on the horizon.

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