In the last two months we talked about how great black coffee and walnuts were, to Veg big for a big Hippocampus, and to prevent not treat dementia with exercise. We stated in that blog that the only organ in your body where size really matters is your hippocampus—the memory relay center in your brain. But there is another organ—your bones—where thickness (a form of size) matters big time as well—although not as important as your hippocampal size—but the item I’ll talk about this month helps increase the size of both.
Thicker bones help prevent hip fractures, help decrease low back pain (especially when combined with spongier discs that often are part of the same process). And this week a new study came out that gives even more data to encourage you to continue to take one specific of the Fab8+2 supplements. We call em Fab 8 because each of the Fab8 supplements has at least 4 studies in humans demonstrating their benefit (over risk) to you in staying young.
This month I want to expand on that latest study that give a new and unexpected rational for caring enough about your microbiome to take #8 of the Fab8, a daily probiotic. The new study that this bacteria in your gut brings the surprise that it helps strengthen your bones. From your passage through the birth canal to your first taste of breastmilk, a first encounter with your pet dog or cat, and first handful of not-so-tasty dirt in the backyard, you are building your gut biome—that super-dense world of trillions of microbes that live in your gastrointestinal system (as well as on your skinand in your mouth). And you want them in and on there!
In this study this tiny lactobacillus bacteria, only 0.8 micrometers long, created some serious bone strength, at least in older women (note well—it is the first and only study in humans of this effect, although much prior data for this benefit exists in animals, and many other benefits for this bacteria have been shown—see below). Swedish researcherslooked at the impact of giving a daily dose of the lactobacillus as a probiotic for a year to 90 women age 76 or older and found it reduced their bone loss by 50 percent! And unlike medications given for osteoporosis (brittle bone disease), the probiotics had no undesirable side effects.
It is estimated that around 8.2 million women and 2 million men in the U.S. have osteoporosis and an additional 27.3 million women and 16.1 million men have low bone mass (osteopenia). Perhaps you are one (you need a test), but nevertheless, all of us need to keep our hips and other bones strong. Fractures of the hip are a common result of osteopenia and osteoporosis when a fall occurs. Hip fractures severely compromise independent living and increase risk of premature death.Around 72 percent of hip fractures in folks older than 65 happen to women.
So take note: If these data prove relevant to all of us, to strengthen bones we all and you can start a daily regimen of probiotic supplements (we like Culturelle—which has lactobacillus as was the species in the study—I am on the company’s scientific advisory board– and Digestive Advantage–which are both designed to survive the trip through corrosive stomach acids) and enjoy fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, and kombucha. Plus, eat lots of prebiotic foods that nurture the bacteria in your guts. That includes garlic, onions, leeks, Jerusalem artichokes,bananas, walnuts, wheat bran, asparagus, and all high-fiber 100 percent whole grain, veggies and fruits. More below of things to do to keep your microbiome helping you stay younger.
There are other substantial benefits of this specific strain of bacteria. In the year 475A.D., in an actual Game of Thrones, Basilliscusseized power over the Easter Roman Byzantine Empire after a revolt forced the Emperor Zeno out of Constantinople. And, if you want to seize power over your cardiovascular empire and take control of your blood pressure, research suggests you throw your support behind LactoBacillus!
Lactobacillus is one of the bacteria charged with keeping a proper balance between competing microbes in your gastrointestinal system, so you can maintain good digestion, steady blood glucose levels, a healthy immune system, and avoid over-the-top, body-wide inflammation. If you’re short on lactobacillus, you may trigger or worsenulcerative colitis and other gastro-inflammatory problems. But recently, research has revealed that lactobacillus may also play a role in maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Writing in the journal Nature, the researchers explain that lactobacillus can restore the proper balance of salt in your system.
When these researchers fed certain lab rodents a high salt diet, it triggered hypertension in them. But when the researchers gave the animals lactobacillus, low and behold, their blood pressure dropped. So if you’re combating HBP and are feeling frustrated with your efforts to get it under 120 over 70, or fighting low bone mass, or osteopenia, that’s another reason to give a regimen of lactobacillus supplements a try. As we stated, you can also get smaller lactobacillusdoses from yogurt and keifer, but you have to eat more than several quarts a day of those to get the same number of Lactobacillus colonies.
There are other choices you make that help or hurt your gut biome; those choices not only influence you gut and whether it acts up, and your blood pressure and bone mass, but also they’re essential for everything from a healthy immune system, to controlling your weight and glucose levels, to helping prevent acne, and for helping maintain a positive mood. When they’re out of whack because of an unhealthy diet, chronic stress, overuse of antibiotics, or chronic infection and inflammation, lack of physical activity, you’re at risk for some cancers, heart disease, depression, obesity and autoimmune conditions such as Crohn’sor irritable bowel disease (IBD). So next month we’ll tell you of five choices to avoid and five to make to keep your microbes keeping you younger and thriving.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to send questions—to [email protected]
Dr Mike Roizen
You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week).
Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic.