Latest News » Combination of calcium and prebiotics may be boon for bone health

Menopausal women may benefit from this bone support combination.

It is well-known that calcium is essential for strong bones, and, increasingly, that vitamin D helps our bodies process this mineral. Recently, researchers have discovered yet another powerful combination that could be a boon for skeletal strength: calcium and prebiotics.

Prebiotics, as we've mentioned in previous posts, are carbohydrates that spur the production and activity of probiotics – the good bacteria within the digestive system. Much research has been directed toward prebiotics in recent years as scientists come to learn more of their role in supporting the digestive system. A 2013 review even indicated that infant prebiotics may counter the prevalence and severity of allergen-based conditions. 

Now, scientists from the University of Ulster have found that combining calcium supplements with a specific strain of prebiotic may have beneficial effects for the bone strength of menopausal women in particular. This population is especially at risk for osteoporosis, but researchers noted that prebiotic supplementation boosted skeletal strength by reducing bone turnover in a 24-month period.

"The greater decline in [bone turnover markers] in the [calcium and calcium-plus-prebiotic] groups […] suggests a more favorable bone health profile after supplementation," a study abstract from the Journal of Nutrition states.

Bone turnover refers to the process of breaking down old bone and replacing it with new. When the clearing of old bone outpaces new bone production, bone density falls. Because of this, bone turnover markers are widely used by physicians to gauge fracture risk and monitor the progression of osteoporosis.

Further research is necessary to understand the relationship between calcium, prebiotics and bone strength. Click here to read more about our bone support supplements.