But more calcium can have some serious consequences for blood vessels, hastening their morphing into bone solid inflexible pipes, prone to both blockages and breaks.
The recipe for building a strong bone, is a lot more complicated than just adding heaps of calcium, into the bucket.
The managanese connection
One player in the BONE mix, is the trace metal – manganese.
Manganese certainly matters if you’re sporting your bones ON YOUR HEAD.
No…. we’re not talking about a somewhat brutish BONE HEAD, the head bones are the chick magnets of deer.
Spanish deer falling apart
The idea for the manganese-osteoporosis connection, started with a crisis. The deer population in Spain suddenly started to fall apart, quite literally, in 2005. The animals’ antlers began crumbling.
Teams of scientists rushed in…….. hoping to help out.
When the antlers were analyzed – the element consistently missing, was manganese.
Researchers put two and two together, to piece together what had gone wrong.
The year of the breaks, had been frightfully cold. Now if you find a little chilly weather stressful, think how stressful it is to be a plant protruding from the earth……… getting up and heading south for the winter, is not an option.
Plants need to make a biochemical plan, to survive. Among the strategies they use, is to squirrel away manganese.
You are what you eat
The principal applies to humans and deer.
Deer chomping on the greenery that was low on manganese – ended up being………… manganese deficient.
Since the manganese is required to “glue” the calcium into the antlers – the antlers became fragile, even in the presence of normal levels of calcium.
The researchers speculate that the same problem arises in humans – when the body is short of manganese, the calcium fails to stick, causing osteoporosis.
Is osteoporosis a manganese crisis ?
Deer having trouble advertising their manliness, is a far cry from old ladies succumbing to osteroporosis.
So where is the proof ?
Well at this stage it is just an idea, but a growing body of evidence suggests, it takes a lot more than a truck load of calcium, to build a strong health bone. And bones that don’t get all the goodies (and it is a pretty long list) – are more likely to disintegrate and finally break.
Manganese who ?
Now if you’re in the habit of supplementing – managanese is not one of those things you typically find in the multivitamin bottle. And that is a good thing, too much can cause some serious toxicity.
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably never really heard of it.
But you do need it. A whole bunch of enzymes depend on having this little atom around, it is an important co-factor i.e. the enzyme’s personal assistant. The most important of these is superoxide dismutase or SOD for short, one of your home grown anti-oxidants.
Now we all need anti-oxidants, both home grown and imported, to keep the oxidative stress levels in check, but if you’ve got an oxidative stress fire, simmering somewhere in your body or if you’re a red head………… you probably need more.
And the more comes …………. out your bones. Well that is the theory.
Paying that oxidative stress bill
There is a kind of pecking order running in your body ……… and it goes something like this.
The BRAIN is boss, numero uno, the bones are way down on the list.
Researchers from University of Castilla-La Mancha, explored the idea that troubled brain’s are stealing bone manganese, leading to osteoporosis.
They analyzed data from the 113 patients who had bone/joint related surgeries in Hellin Hospital, between 2008 and 2009.
40 % of the osteroporosis patients exhibited some kind of cerebral dysfunction, but none of the patients with osteoarthritis, displayed any cerebral problems. (Osteoarthritis is a considered to be due to a worn out joint – and joints are not made of bone, they’re made of cartilage).
The data does suggest there is a connection. The bone problem is arising, due to a brain problem.
Help out your bones
Don’t let your bones pay the bill for oxidative stress. Work on reducing the levels of oxidative stress through lifestyle modifications, such as obeying the rule of thirds and losing some of those extra pounds.Alternative hypothesis for the origin of osteoporosis: The role of Mn. Frontiers in Bioscience (2012) E4 (1): 1385. Tomas Landete-Castillejos.
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