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Gut health x Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, part 1: A healthy gut might be the answer to fragile bones

The best foods to feed your gut microbiome

20 Oct 2022
Osteoporosis, part 1: A healthy gut might be the answer to fragile bones

WHO defines osteoporosis as a skeletal disease that displays progression in diminishing bone mass and deterioration of the microarchitecture of bone tissue. This leads to the increase in fragile bones and heightened risk in bone fractures.

With a global greying population, the incidence of osteoporosis induced hip fractures in Singapore is expected to increase by a whopping 200 to
300 % in the next 30 years.

Essentially, Osteoporosis can be prevented through exercise and consuming whole foods that are rich in calcium, vitamins and minerals. However, do you know that a healthy gut actually plays a crucial role in building strong bones?

Good gut bacteria helps to break down dietary fibre, which in turn, is said to regulate the PH levels in the intestines thereby encouraging the absorption of calcium through intestinal walls.

Proper calcium absorption is further enhanced through the help of Vitamin D.

Gut dysbiosis (imbalance of good gut bacteria) is known to decrease circulating vitamin D in the body and hence reduce the effective proliferation of calcium in the bones.

Even though bones become stronger with the presence of calcium, it can still deteriorate when the body experiences too much inflammation.

It is this increase in inflammation that is closely associated with the progression of bone fragility as we age.

Probiotics help to establish a healthy gut microbiome ecosystem and may be the answer to combat gut dysbiosis, which in turn helps the body build strong bones and better manage osteoporosis. 

Types of Probiotics

Probiotics are bacteria, not the harmful sort but ones that can bring harmony to your gut microbiome. They are readily available from the food or supplements we consume and is essential in our daily dietary program so as to prevent gut dysbiosis from occurring.

There are generally 2 main types of probiotics, namely Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus. Alongside the balancing of our gut microbiome, studies have shown that these probiotics, along with its numerous subtypes, have a direct impact on increasing bone mass density through its anti-inflammatory
effects, and ability to increase the body’s uptake of bone friendly nutrients.

Both these probiotics are generally found in fermented or dairy based food products, it is beneficial to consider regularly adding these options to your dietary program. 

Prebiotics, on the other hand, act as food sources for these good bacteria. 


Our stomach is a hot bed of acidic activity, which can make it exceptionally difficult for ingested probiotics to survive the journey and
reach the intestines intact. Special micro-encapsulation technology that can be found in certain supplements may protect these beneficial bacteria from the ravages of the digestive juices, and reach our large intestines in one piece. Here are some tips that may help to better sift out the better ones from the rest.

Keep a Lookout for CFU count and presence of live bacteria

CFU or Colony Forming Units refers to the total number of bacteria available in one serving. An average CFU count in one serving can range from 1 to 10 billion. It is essential to ensure adequate probiotics in every serving that is consumed, do seek the consultation of a healthcare professional if in doubt.

Probiotics supplements may also contain either live or dead (inactive) bacteria, even though both provide similar benefits to the body, dead bacteria are unable to replicate and colonise in the gut. Live bacteria, on the other hand, will be preferred as they are able to thrive and multiply for lasting benefits.

Do not let age related illnesses bog you down as you enter your retirement journey. Live healthily and achieve a quality lifestyle with a comprehensive health insurance plan. Prioritise your health and live life to its fullest with your mind at ease. 

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