Decreased risk of bone fracture and better overall bone health is another area of increasing interest in Extra Virgin Olive Oil research.
One recent study compared the number of bone fractures in a group of 870 study participants over a period of seven years to see if intake of Extra Virgin Olive Oil was associated with the number of reported bone fractures. When the study results were analysed, the researchers divided this large group into three categories.
In terms of their Extra Virgin Olive Oil intake, the lowest third of the study participants averaged 38 grams of Extra Virgin Olive Oil per day, approximately 3 tablespoons. The middle third averaged nearly 4 tablespoons (48 grams), and the top third averaged about 4.5 tablespoons (57 grams).
Participants in the highest category of Extra Virgin Olive Oil intake reported 51% fewer fractures than participants in the lowest category of Extra Virgin Olive Oil intake.
While all of these Extra Virgin Olive Oil intake levels are fairly high, they nevertheless show a link between reduced risk of bone fracture and incorporation of Extra Virgin Olive Oil into an ordinary meal plan. It’s also worth noting that numerous animal studies have shown increased bone formation in rats and mice that were given Extra Virgin Olive Oil in their feeding plan. This increased bone formation has also been specifically tied to the presence of two phenols, tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol in Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
What Is Osteoporosis?
One of the most common health problems in the United States, osteoporosis affects more than 44 million Americans and contributes to an estimated 2 million fractures each year. Fifty percent of women and 25% of men over the age of 50 will sustain fractures thanks to osteoporosis. Many fractures happen as a result of a fall, but even simple household tasks can cause severely osteoporotic bones to fracture.
Though the exact causes of osteoporosis are unknown, doctors have identified major factors that can lead to the disease.
Losing bone with age is a natural phenomenon and after the age of 35 the body builds less new bone to replace the loss of old bone. As a general rule, your bone mass goes down as your age goes up, and thus your risk for osteoporosis increases.
A family history of the disease, fair skin, and Caucasian or Asian descent can increase the risk for osteoporosis. This fact may help explain why some develop the disease early in life.
Nutrition and Lifestyle
A calcium-deficient diet, excessively low weight, and a sedentary lifestyle have all been linked to osteoporosis, along with smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
Medications and Other Illness
Some medications, including steroids, and other diseases like thyroid problems have been linked to osteoporosis.
Lost bone cannot be replaced, and as such, treatment focuses on preventing the condition from becoming worse. Treatment plans often involve work from physicians, orthopaedists, a gynecologist, and an endocrinologist. In addition to including regular intake of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, exercise and nutrition as part of your lifestyle choices, other treatments include:
Estrogen Replacement Therapy
- Often offered to women at high risk for osteoporosis, estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) helps prevent bone loss and reduce fracture risk. The hormones also help prevent heart disease and improve cognitive function but can increase the risk for breast cancer.
Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators
- Known as SERMs, these anti-estrogens can increase bone mass, reduce fracture risk, and lower the risk for breast cancer.
- This medication is available in nasal spray form and helps increase bone mass and relieve pain.
- These significantly increase bone mass and help prevent spine and hip fractures.
Anyone experiencing or at risk of the effects of osteoporosis should talk to their doctor to determine the appropriate course of treatment.