It's very common for people to think of bones as inert, the non-living framework that supports our living cells. But bones are very much alive! And they aren't just made up of living cells; they're also constantly interacting with the rest of our bodies as the cells grow, die, and are renewed. Therefore, it's important to understand how the state of our health can affect our bones. Researchers in Belgium have been investigating this and have uncovered a surprising link between osteoporosis and another disease.
It begins on the cellular level. Bones are primarily regulated by two types of cells: osteoblasts that build bone up and osteoclasts that break bone down. Many osteoporosis drugs block the work of osteoclasts, but in the process, they shut down the whole system, so new bone cells aren't being created either. Over time, bones become weak and fragile because of the drugs.
Recognizing this problem, researchers are trying to determine how to stimulate osteoblasts rather than blocking osteoclasts. So they've been investigating these cells more closely to determine exactly how they work. As you might expect, they've found that these cells rely heavily on a good supply of oxygenated blood. To determine just how dependent the bones are on this oxygen, the researchers analyzed mice that had genetically mutated bone cells. These cells function as though they have insufficient oxygen levels.
The researchers found something surprising: the mice were still able to build up their bones, but the bones they generated were unusually heavy and had absorbed quite a bit of glucose. The researchers believe that this happened because the cells converted glucose to lactate for energy instead of burning it in the mitochondria. This is a much less energy-efficient process, but it doesn't require oxygen, and so it suited the mice well. It's what happens to us when we get out of shape. Our cells don't use oxygen efficiently. The mice also did not gain weight as they aged, compared to their counterparts, and had lower blood sugar levels.
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The researchers are very intrigued about what their findings could mean for the treatment of not just osteoporosis, but also diabetes. They will need to conduct further research to determine if finding a way to divert glucose to the bones could be beneficial for warding off both diabetes and osteoporosis.
In the meantime, it is important to note that people with diabetes typically have poor bone quality as well. So you shouldn't assume that there's a silver lining for your bones to the disease. Your overall health will improve if you can get your blood sugar under control as quickly as possible. My book The Type 2 Diabetes Breakthrough can help you do this.
Once you're ready to tackle the next issue - or if your blood sugar is already at a healthy level - you can use Ultimate Bone Support to help you avoid osteoporosis. Just like exercise and hormones, the nutrients in this product help you generate more osteoblasts, which will then lay down more bone for you. It also contains vitamin K2 and vitamin D3, which multiple studies have found can support bone health, and L-lysine, which helps the collagen in your bones keep your skeleton strong by "gluing" the bone cells together. The cells that make up your bones really are alive - these nutrients will help you keep them that way.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD