Researchers found a natural way to prevent osteoporosis in menopausal women. The glossy privet fruit (Fructus Ligustri Lucidi), a traditional Chinese herbal medicine, may prevent osteoporosis in menopausal women, according to a study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
After menopause, women are more likely to develop osteoporosis because of the lack of the estrogen hormone, which is vital for bone health because it promotes the activity of osteoblast cells that produce the bone. The hormone does this through estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) and estrogen receptor beta (Erβ). Estrogen levels drop during menopause.
The study was conducted by a group of scientists at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine in China who looked at the effects of the glossy privet fruit on estrogen receptors in the femurs, tibias, and uteri, and uterus weight in ovariectomized mice. The fruit has been traditionally used in China as a treatment for osteoporosis.
For the study, the group orally administered glossy privet fruit at a dose of 3.5 grams per kilogram (g/kg) to the mice for 12 weeks. Then, they measured the mice’s estrogen serum levels, luteinizing hormone, and follicle-stimulating hormone.They used western blot analysis and immunohistochemical staining to assess the expressions of ERα and Erβ in the femurs, tibias, and uteri.
Based on the results, the glossy privet fruit treatment increased the ERα expression in the femurs and tibias and enhanced Erβ expression in the uteri of the mice, although the resulted expression of ERα was stronger than that of Erβ in mice. The treatment also did not increase the weight of the uterus of the mice. Moreover, the treatment of glossy privet fruit to ovariectomized mice increased luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone but failed to raise estrogen serum level.
In conclusion, the findings of the study indicated that the treatment of glossy privet fruit might help prevent osteoporosis associated with estrogen deficiency.
Other ways to prevent osteoporosis
For extra protection against osteoporosis, here are some things you can do:
- Exercise – Weight-bearing exercise and resistance training exercises promote bone health by stimulating the formation of bones and slowing down age-related bone loss. Some of the weight-bearing exercises you can try are walking, jogging, jumping rope, climbing the stairs, and skiing. For resistance training exercises, you are required to work against extra weight, such as free weights, weight machines, elastic bands, and your own body. You can also try yoga instead. Research has shown that performing a 12-minute yoga routine every day increased bone mineral density in the spine, femur, and hips.
- Eat a healthy diet – A diet rich in plant foods and fermented foods can help prevent osteoporosis. A lot of fruits and vegetables contain various nutrients that support bone health. These include calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin C, and protein. They also contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which prevent inflammation and oxidative stress, respectively. These two cellular conditions are associated with aging and health problems like osteoporosis. On the other hand, fermented foods contain probiotics, which improve gut health and increase bone mineral density. You can try these fermented foods: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi. (Related: Women opting for an anti-inflammatory diet can protect themselves from osteoporosis and painful bone loss.)
- Have enough and quality sleep – Men and women older than 50 who habitually sleep less than six hours a night had a significantly increased risk of osteoporosis, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The recommended amount of sleep in most adults is seven to eight hours.
These things do not only protect your bones but can also prevent other diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.
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