Tags: broccoli | bones | osteo

Can Broccoli Fight Osteoporosis?

Thursday, 13 December 2012 05:14 PM

Calcium may not be the only weapon that’s effective in battling the brittle bones caused by osteoporosis. New research has found a little-known protein plays a key role in strengthening bones and that it’s activated by vitamin K — a beneficial nutrient found in broccoli, spinach, and other green leafy vegetables.
The findings, by engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, suggest boosting the body’s natural supply of the protein — known as osteocalcin — could help treat or prevent osteoporosis and other conditions that lead to increased fracture risks.
"Currently, all of the advice for treating osteoporosis is related to calcium. We believe there's more to the story than just calcium, and the results of this new study raise an important question about vitamin K,” noted lead researcher Deepak Vashishth, head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer. “Leafy green vegetables are the best source of vitamin K — wouldn't it be great if eating spinach and broccoli was not only healthy, but also good for your bones? We plan to investigate this link in future."
Vashisth’s study, published online by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, details for the first time how osteocalcin plays a role in strengthening bones. Funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the study determined fractures in healthy bones begin with very tiny holes. In the case of a serious slip, trip, or fall, bones will crack or fracture at those points — especially if the bone is lacking osteocalcin or a related protein known as osteopontin, or both.
Vashishth and colleagues from Villanova University, the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, and Yale University also found osteocalcin helps to brace bones against breaks, so increasing the body’s supply of the protein might help individuals resist the rages of osteoporosis.
"This study is important because it implicates, for the first time, the role of osteocalcin in giving bone the ability to resist fracture," Vashishth said. "Since osteocalcin is always the point of fracture, we believe that strengthening it could lead to a strengthening of the overall bone."
Vashishth said future studies could investigate the relation between vitamin K intake, osteocalcin, and bone strength.

© HealthDay

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Vitamin K — in broccoli and other green leafy vegetables — has been found to help strengthen brittle bones.
Thursday, 13 December 2012 05:14 PM
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