Preventing Bone Loss and Weight Gain with Combinations of Vitamin D and Phytochemicals
Obesity and osteoporosis are major public health concerns due to their prevalence in our increasingly sedentary and aging society. In the U.S. today, an estimated 55% of people 50 and older are at risk for developing osteoporosis. Because as much as 20% of bone mass can be lost in the first five to seven years following menopause, osteoporosis is a major health issue for aging women. In 2005, osteoporosis-related fractures were responsible for an estimated $19 billion in costs. By 2025, these costs are predicted to rise to approximately $25.3 billion, and over the next 50 years, the national cost may be as high as $240 billion. These studies indicate the tremendous financial and personal burden of increased postmenopausal adiposity and bone loss in elderly women. The relationship between bone and fat is not completely understood. In fact, adult obesity was thought to protect against bone loss at various skeletal sites and body weight has previously been used as a positive predictor of bone mineral density. However, more recent studies reveal that obesity does not protect against decreases in bone mass; instead, increased adiposity contributes to the reduction in bone mass. Further, several studies investigating the contribution of lean mass versus fat mass have reported fat mass to negatively correlate with bone density, while lean tissue mass is positively correlated. The effect of weight loss on bone density may be difficult to predict and will likely depend on diet composition, changes in metabolic status and relative proportions of lean vs. fat tissue loss. Some studies have shown decreased bone mineral density with weight loss, while others have shown no bone loss. Improvement in metabolic status is likely to improve bone health over the long term, since metabolic disorder is associated with bone loss. With the recognition that traditional hormone replacement therapy can be associated with increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease and stroke, more women than ever are turning to alternative methods of managing menopause symptoms and associated physiological changes. Although many nutritional supplements are marketed, with the exception of soy, few botanical products have been tested clinically for efficacy in preventing bone loss or weight gain after menopause. Research sponsored by AptoTec, Inc. has demonstrated the synergistic enhancement of activity with combinations of specific natural compounds and vitamin D, which we believe will lead to a new strategy for preventing the increase in bone loss and adiposity that occurs with the onset of menopause.
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