New Information on Agave Fructans for the Treatment of Osteoporosis
Many of us take traditional osteoporosis medications, while others have great difficulty with them, leading many closer to natural treatments for this disorder. The agave plant, used to make tequila, is one plant of many that may have promising bone benefits.
Agave has rich sources of fructans, and previous studies show that ...fructans stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the large intestine in a way that increases the body's absorption of minerals, including calcium and magnesium, which are needed for bone growth.¹
However, these fructans can also be found in artichokes, garlic, onions and chicory as well as others listed below. Fructans are non-digestible carbohydrates. They consist of molecules of fructose -- the sugar found in honey, grapes, and ripe fruits -- linked together into chains.²
Dr. Mercedes Lopez of the National Polytechnic Institute in Guanajuato, Mexico conducted a study on mice fed fructans to test bone growth in these rodents. The results of the study showed that the mice that were fed agave fructans showed preventative bone loss and improved bone formation. These fructans caused the mice to absorb more calcium, excrete less calcium into their feces, and showed a 50 percent increase in protein that's associated with the increase in new bone growth. These results suggest that the supplementation of the standard diet with agave fructans prevented bone loss and improved bone formation, indicating the important role of agave fructans on the maintenance of healthy bone, López said.³
So where can we get these fructans other than from the plants above? Surprisingly, they are already in some foods like ice cream, baby foods, baked goods, sauces, beverages, breakfast cereals and others, as a food additive. Fructans are a polymer of fructose molecules according to Wikipedia, and can also be found in asparagus, green beans, leeks, yacon, jicama and wheat, as well as others.
We'll have to wait for the final results of the testing by Dr. Lopez, to find out how much of this non-digestible carbohydrates we need to add to our diets for it to benefit our bones; but in the meantime vegetables listed above range from, (1.2-17.4 g /100 g fw) of fructan. FW means "fresh weight" of the item measured. Fruits, such as white peach, persimmon and melon range, 0.21-0.46 g/100 g fw) of fructan.
If you regularly eat these vegetables, or the others listed, you may well be on your way to helping your bone health.
This seems like such a simple way to start on a new path of building bones naturally, that I'll certainly try.
If you are on any diet restrictions, be sure to speak with your doctor before you change your diet.
What do you think about this, and will you try to incorporate these things into your diet to round-out your natural daily routine for treating osteoporosis?
1. HealthDay March 23, 2010.
2. ScientificBlogging March 23, 2010.
3. HealthDay March 23, 2010