Shock-absorbing "goo" discovered in bones

Chemists from the U.K. have published research concluding that a "goo-like" fluid is an essential component and a key reason why they don't break more easily. These findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers examined the citrate layers in bone using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and the most up-to-date imaging and molecular modeling to see this elusive goo.

The goo allows movement between the calcium phosphate nano-crystals so the crystals, and therefore our bones, don’t shatter under pressure. This accounts for bone flexibility as well. Calcium citrate – a natural byproduct of cell metabolism – is what the goo is made of, along with water.

If the goo seeps out, it fuses with the calcium phosphate crystals, forming big, sticky clumps. This turns bones brittle and inflexible. The goo, the scientists said, is essential for keeping bones intact. The researchers believe this finding could be a major breakthrough in understanding and treating osteoporosis.

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