New Study Suggests Your Gut & Bone Health May Be Connected
Assistant Beauty & Health Editor
Assistant Beauty & Health Editor
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.
October 1, 2023
Research on the gut microbiome is booming. Numerous studies come out every month reiterating the importance of tending to your gut for overall health.
One new study from researchers at Harvard, Stanford, and other leading institutions proposes the gut microbiome even plays a role in bone density—which naturally decreases with age. To come, what researchers have determined and why this matters for longevity.
A new study finds an association between gut health and bone density
A total of 920 stool samples were collected to assess gut composition while bone architecture was measured using a 3D peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) scan.
Researchers note that higher concentrations of Faecalibacterium, a genus of “good bacteria,” was associated with increased bone density, suggesting it may be one potential focus area for supporting healthy bones.
Past studies note that diets high in prebiotic fiber like the Mediterranean diet2 and certain plant-based 3diets may help boost Faecalibacterium levels. Kiwi fruits, in particular, have also been shown to support these bacteria4.
If you’re wondering how gut health could possibly impact bone density, previous animal studies provide a potential clue. They have found that the gut microbiome affects the inflammatory environment through effects on T-cells5. These T-cells influence the production of immune mediators and inflammatory cytokines that stimulate bone degradation in mice.
This study suggests a similar relationship in humans may be possible, and that the gut-immune-bone axis is strong. Given that 70-80% of immune cells live in the gut6, this isn’t necessarily far-fetched, though the implications of these connections are still in the early stages of research.
These findings need to be confirmed and expanded in future research, but they do provide an interesting starting point for potentially using the gut microbiome to target bone density concerns.
Why does bone density matter?
Bone density tends to begin declining at a steady rate around 40 years of age7. This can help to explain why the older you get, the more risky it is to fall or stumble, given the increasing fragility of your bones.
So, tending to your bones (and muscles) is quite important to the healthy aging equation. Think of supporting your bones when you’re younger as a payment forward to your older self.
How to support bone health
Given this finding, keeping gut health in mind and ingesting a wide range of natural foods rich in prebiotic fiber to support a flourishing microbiome is a great step—if not just for potential bone health, but for overall health.
Beyond that, consider looking into a multivitamin with bone-supporting ingredients like potassium, vitamin D11, K212, and calcium13. Our suggestion: mindbodygreen multivitamin+—a high-potency formula that’s packed with 33 vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support overall health (bone health included).*
If you’re concerned about your bone health or gut microbiome, visit your healthcare provider to learn more about the best steps for you.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.
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