Camilla expresses concern for osteoporosis in her grandchildren
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Look through all the common accoutrements of an evening meal and one will inevitably find, somewhere in one of the recipes, cheese. Created through the curdling of milk, cheese comes in all shapes and sizes and delights and surprises. Cheese too, can have health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and inflammation. However, according to recent research, one particular type of cheese could help reduce the delay the onset of bone thinning.
Jarlsberg is a Norwegian cheese, one originating from the eastern areas of Norway and is known for its soft, nutty flavour.
According to research published in the BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health journal, it could also soon be known to delay the onset of osteoporosis.
Researchers say a small portion of the cheese, 57g, could slow down the progress of bone thinning without an unduly boost levels of harmful cholesterol.
The study was carried out on a small cohort of 66 participants, all of whom were allocated either Jarlsberg or Camembert to add to their diet for six weeks; after this period they swapped cheeses.
While both cheeses are similar, Jarlsberg differs in that it is rich in vitamin K2, one associated with improved skin health and bone metabolism.
Blood tests showed those who ate Jarlsberg experienced a significant boost to their levels of K2 while blood fats increased slightly across both groups.
The researchers concluded: “Daily Jarlsberg cheese consumption has a positive effect on osteocalcin, other [markers of bone turnover], glycated haemoglobin and lipids.”
Professor Sumantra Ray added: “This study shows that while calcium and vitamin D are known to be extremely important for bone health, there are other key factors at play, such as vitamin K2, which is perhaps not as well known.”
While the results of this study may encourage people to go out and purchase or add Jarlsberg to their diet, there are a couple of caveats.
The first is the small sample group; at less than 66 participants, it is not a representative or broad study.
Furthermore, Professor Ray added: “Different methods of preparation mean there are key differences in the nutrient composition of cheese which has often been regarded as a homogenous food item in dietary research to date. This needs to be addressed in future studies.
“As this is a small study in young and healthy people designed to explore novel pathways linking diet and bone health, the results need to be interpreted with great caution as the study participants will not necessarily be representative of other groups. And it shouldn’t be taken as a recommendation to eat a particular type of cheese.”
Subsequently, further studies are required in order to ascertain the true benefits of Jarlsberg for older people who live with osteoporosis.
Due to their thinner bones, patients with osteoporosis are more likely to break their bones.
Common sites of injuries include the wrist, hip, and spin; however, breaks can happen in other bones too.
The NHS say: “Sometimes a cough or sneeze can cause a broken rip or the partial collapse of one of the bones of the spine.”
How is osteoporosis treated?
Osteoporosis is treated through preventing the fracturing of bones and the ingestion of medicine to strengthen them.
Medicines used to treat the condition are known as bisphosphonates; these slow the rate at which the bone is broken down, reducing the risk of the bone breaking.
Alongside bisphosphonates, patients may also be prescribed vitamin D supplements as these are known to aid bone health.
However, in common with other medications, bisphosphonates can cause a few side effects such as:
• Food pipe irritation
• Problems with swallowing
• Stomach pain.
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