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Healthy Help for Brittle Bones

Not exactly real news, but news to me, is a promising use of the supplement Resveratrol for bone health. I stumbled upon this article while researching a related topic, but it instantly caught my attention.

Background: one of the observations about female physiology is that women with lots of estrogen (think full lips, or high dose hormone therapy, or history of lots of bleeding) have a relatively high risk of breast cancer but a low risk of osteoporosis. Conversely, low estrogen women (thin hips, no hormones, history of scanty periods) have a relatively low risk of breast cancer but a higher risk of osteoporosis. The two conditions are inversely related.

So when women want to prevent osteoporosis, they can use carefully monitored hormones, unless they have had breast cancer. Instead they are offered drugs which help bones but block estrogen, all of which have concerning side effects, from reflux to necrosis of the jaw bone.

In 2007 a study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry states the challenge, “The current challenge in prevention or therapy of osteoporosis, therefore, is to identify treatments that share the protective effects of estrogen but lack (serious) side effects.”  

The study was performed on rat tissue and rats themselves, but found that resveratrol not only enhanced bone strength but also blocked the progression of breast cancer growth in tumors both positive and negative for estrogen receptors.

I’m hoping that clinical human research is close at hand, but meanwhile – for patients needing bone support, but unable to take any of the pharmaceutical options available – I would recommend discussing resveratrol use with your physician.

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