Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Prebiotic and Probiotic Regulation of Bone Health: Role of the Intestine and its Microbiome
There are many studies supporting a role for the gut and its microbiome in the regulation of bone density and health. Direct modulation of the quantity of bacteria present (through the use of antibiotics, germ-free mice) as well as addition of bacterial substrates (prebiotics) and addition of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) can affect measures of bone health and calcium metabolism. However, there is still much to learn regarding our understanding of the signaling pathways that link the microbiome and gut to skeletal health. Future studies should be directed at identification of the mechanisms by which the microbiome regulates osteoblast and osteoclast activities as a means for developing future natural treatments for osteoporosis. We envision that modulation of the intestine-microbiome interaction to improve bone health will play an important role in human health and allow physicians to reduce the dependence on current pharmacological interventions for osteoporosis (which can have unwanted side effects).