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Probiotic could cut bone loss in half


A Swedish study has found older women who took a powdered probiotic had half the bone loss of those who did not.

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg were testing the effect of Lactobacillus Reuteri on osteoporosis.

They found women who took the supplement every day for a year suffered 50 percent less bone loss in their lower legs, than those who did not.

The women also suffered no nasty side effects.

The bone health breakthrough is good news for osteoporosis sufferers, like Bev Jennings, who was diagnosed 30 years ago.

"You have to be extra careful that you don't trip, stumble or have a fall and break a hip. That was my main concern" she said.

Robyn Kelly, 70, was told she had brittle bones three years ago.

"It was frightening. It's not something you really want to have. So you need to work hard to reduce the dangers as you get older," she said.

But reducing the danger could now be even easier.

Probiotics containing Lactobacillus Reuteri already available in Australian pharmacies.

"A lot of people take them for gut-health, particularly IBS," Brisbane pharmacist Tara Beecher said.

It is not yet known why the probiotic could help, but there are suggestions it might regulate hormones in post-menopausal women, or help the stomach absorb calcium.

While popping a probiotic daily might slow the progression of osteoporosis, home-grown research is finding seniors can build bone density with tailored exercises.

"Bone adapts to loads you put on it. It gets stronger, so it doesn't break, if you load it up," Professor Belinda Beck from The Bone Clinic in Queensland explained.

The good news is, "loading it up" does not mean you have to lift heavy.

Exercise physiologist Laura Purdie said some exercises are so simple they can be practiced from home.

"High-knee stomping is really great to do for home," she said.

"So you just lift your knees up nice and high. Keep your feet flat when they hit the ground.

"Another great exercise to do for balance is a tandem walk.

"So just a heel to toe walk along a straight line."
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