8 Ingredients proven to improve bone health during (post)menopause

June 13th, 2022

Bone health is crucial to maintain, particularly after menopause. Consumption of dietary supplements, especially in post-menopausal women is on the rise, as advances in research are made and proven benefits are elucidated. Here we mention some of the ingredients that have demonstrated the ability to support women during menopause – specifically for the loss and maintenance of bone mineral density! You will also learn about which foods contain these ingredients, how they are beneficial to bone health and their recommended daily intake.

Bone-health-in-menopause

Bone health, menopause, and dietary supplements

Menopause is the permanent cessation of menstruation naturally occurring in females at an average age of 51 [1].

Importantly, menopause leads to a decrease in estrogen levels and consequently increases bone loss. Estrogen is a hormone responsible for menstruation and known to have protective effects on bone loss and reduce inflammation.

Bone tissue in women is generally thinner than in men, and bone density has been reported to markedly decrease after menopause (post-menopause). Women can lose up to 20% of their bone density in just 5-7 years due to these hormonal shifts and experience increased joint pain [2].

The rise in the use of dietary supplements, especially by post-menopausal women, who are at risk of bone loss, is growing tremendously as advances in research are made, and the benefits of multiple natural ingredients are proven [3].

8 ingredients to sustain bone health in menopause.

Calcium & Vitamin D

Calcium is a critical component of bone architecture necessary for the deposition of bone minerals. Around 99% of calcium is stored in bones and teeth, making them strong and hard [4].

Vitamin D is vital for regulating intestinal calcium absorption and stimulating bone resorption to maintain serum calcium concentration [5]. There are, however, substances that can interfere with the body’s ability to use calcium, such as oxalate, protein, phytate, and caffeine.

Examples of foods rich in calcium include dairy, soybeans, and green leafy vegetables. While the predominant way of ascertaining vitamin D is through our own body’s synthesis stimulated by sufficient sunlight exposure on our skin. Thus, supplementation of vitamin D3, cholecalciferol, is advocated during autumn and winter due to limited sunlight availability, depending on geography.

Women under the age of 50 should consume a daily dosage of 1000mg of Calcium and 400-800IU Vitamin D, while women above the age of 50 should consume 1200mg of calcium and 800-1000IU of vitamin D daily [6].

Joint-health

Vitamin C, B9 and B12, K

Vitamin C is important in stimulating the differentiation of osteoblasts, cells that synthesize bone matrix and coordinate bone mineralization [7].

Antioxidant effects of vitamin C have also been reported to reduce bones from cell damage and may improve left ventricular diastolic function which menopausal women often experience a dramatic reduction in [8]. Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, and strawberries.

Vitamin B9 (folate) and B12 are major determinants of homocysteine levels. Thus, a deficiency in vitamin B9 and B12 leads to increased homocysteine levels, which have been associated with impaired bone health and osteoporosis, a condition concerning weak and brittle bones [9].

Vitamin B9 and B12 have also been reported to assist with reducing the severity and duration of hot flashes and other menopause symptoms [10]. Therefore, increasing folate and B12 levels through foods such as pulses, legumes, beans, brown rice and, you guessed it, leafy green vegetables, can improve bone health.

Moreover, vitamin K has been reported to assist with reducing hot flashes and other menopause symptoms [11].

The recommended daily amount for adult women according to the National Institutes of Health for vitamin C is 75mg; for vitamin B9 is 400mcg DFE; for vitamin B12 is 2.4mcg and ultimately for vitamin K is 90mcg [12].

Quercetin

Quercetin is the bioactive compound abundantly found in citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, and onions. Studies show that onions reduce bone loss due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant flavonoid, quercetin [13].

Quercetin inhibits the genesis and differentiation of osteoclasts, preserving bone mass and health. Bone mineral density in postmenopausal women has also been reported to improve when supplementing with onion juice [14].

Quercetin at a dose of 150 mg has been shown to improve bone-health metrics, which is around three servings of onion [15]. Note, quercetin is found in the pigment and outer layer of the onion, with red and yellow ones thus having higher concentrations.

Bonolive® (olive leaf extract 40% oleuropein)

Bonolive® is an ingredient derived from olive leaf and rich in the most abundant olive polyphenol, oleuropein, tailored to women to counteract bone loss risk associated with menopause.

Clinical research in post-menopausal women has demonstrated that 12 months of supplementation with 250mg of Bonolive® is able to increase osteocalcin levels by 32%, promote the activity of osteoblasts (the bone-building cells), and decrease osteoclast activity involved in the breakdown and resorption of bone [16,17]. Thus the clinical dosage of 250mg is recommended.

Bonolive-product

Moreover, after 12 months, the Bonolive® treatment group displayed a significant protection against bone loss, compared to the placebo group.

Additionally, chondrocytes, important for cartilage-building, are also increased while cartilage degeneration is inhibited through oleuropein. Further benefits can be ascribed to oleuropein’s anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Oleuropein can be found in olive oil and olive leaf, although in limited quantities and therefore, supplementation with a high-quality, standardized extract such as Bonolive® is a more convenient method of consuming this nutrient in adequate quantities.

Improve bone health during menopause

In conclusion, a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, together with the right supplementations may help ameliorate bone health during menopause and promote healthy ageing and active living.