Turmeric may boost bone density in older people

14 May 2017

Older people can help strengthen their bone mass by consuming turmeric, a new study claims.

Older people can help strengthen their bone mass by consuming turmeric, a new study claims.

Scientists at Genoa University have identified a compound in the spice known as curcumin, which they believe targets cells that trigger old parts of the bone to be removed before new growth can replace it. This can lead to problems like osteoporosis and causes symptoms including cramps, decreased grip strength and receding gums.

The researchers analysed men and women with an average age of 70 who were all healthy aside from declining bone density and measured bones in their fingers, jaws and heels.

Six months later, participants who had been given a daily supplement of turmeric and soy lecithin saw their bone density increase by seven per cent. With the help of soy lecithin, the turmeric was able to be absorbed in the small intestine rather than demolished in the stomach.

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This isn’t the first time the brightly coloured spice has been praised for its benefits on bones; previous research linked curcumin to strengthening bone-building in animal models and Stefano Togni, scientific spokesman for plant-based research company Indena, noted: “Our (previous) work suggests curcumin dampens down the rate of bone resorption.”

Experts do advise people to eat turmeric through non-powder forms, as this type of spice isn’t as easily absorbed by the body.

However, turmeric isn’t the only way people can help their bones. A new observational study into dairy intakes and bones, the largest of its kind, has found that the older generation can reduce their risk of osteoporosis by eating more yoghurt.

"Yoghurt is a rich source of different bone promoting nutrients and thus our findings in some ways are not surprising. The data suggest that improving yoghurt intakes could be a strategy for maintaining bone health but it needs verification through future research as it is observational,” said lead author Dr Eamon Laird.

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