The typical human skeleton is made up of 206 bones. Our skeleton is imperative for support, movement and posture, and protection of our organs. Bone contains marrow which is vital for red and white blood cell production, and also acts as a reservoir for various minerals, including calcium. A common misconception is that bones do not change once formed. However, bone is an incredibly dynamic tissue that continually undergoes remodelling – that is, the processes of formation and breakdown. It is for this reason that broken bones can be mended and return to their normal conditions. Peak bone mass or the maximum bone size and strength is usually reached between the ages of 25-30, determined by genetic and environmental factors . Disruption in normal bone remodelling can lead to bone destruction. With an increased understanding of diseases such as osteoporosis, it has become clear that we need to look after our bone health, and that care starts at a young age.
Bones are made up of a flexible matrix composed predominantly of collagen, and hydroxyapatite (calcium phosphate), an inorganic mineral component. The structure of bones can be likened to that of reinforced concrete, with calcium phosphate corresponding to the cement and collagen to the reinforcing rods.
Bone remodelling is a complex process, involving two main types of cells: osteoblasts, and osteoclasts. Osteoblasts are essential for laying down the organic component of bone (collagen), which quickly becomes mineralized following the deposition of hydroxyapatite. Osteoclasts on the other hand release collagenase and are important in bone resorption (breakdown). In adults, the complete cycle of remodelling is said to occur over a period of three years.
Why do our bones breakdown?
It is important to remember that bone breakdown can be a regular part of the remodelling process. However, several factors that can lead to increased bone breakdown.
Poor diet and lifestyle: A wide variety of vitamins and minerals are needed to develop optimal bone structure and function. A lifetime diet low in calcium and vitamin D food sources will make you more prone to bone loss, which is why having a balanced diet early on in life is so important. Smoking and alcohol consumption are both associated with an increased risk of bone loss and fractures. Finally, certain medications such as steroids can lead to loss of bone density and increased risk of fractures.
Many hormones are involved in regulating bone mineral density, and estrogen is often cited as the prime example. Estrogen inhibits the destruction of osteoblasts and induces the death of osteoclasts. It has long been known that the estrogen deficiency that accompanies menopause is a major contributing factor for osteoporosis as there is increased bone resorption. Progesterone and testosterone are also two sex hormones which have been shown to increase bone mineral density.
Chronic stress increases the release of the body’s ‘stress’ hormone cortisol from adrenal organs. Elevated cortisol leads to an increased rate of bone turnover, impaired absorption of calcium and inhibition of sex hormones. This is evident by the increased incidence of osteoporosis and fractures in those with Cushing’s syndrome (a disease of consistent excess cortisol output).
Numerous studies have demonstrated that irregular sleep patterns may have detrimental impacts on bone health. A study of over 600 women found that shorter sleep duration was associated with decreased total bone mineral density in those over the age of 45 (Fu et al., 2011). Specifically, significant impairments in bone health were seen in those women sleeping less than 6 hours per night. The reduction in bone mineral density due to less sleep is most likely due to the resultant elevations in cortisol during the day, as the body is stressed from lass of sleep. Stress can cause sleep deprivation and sleep deprivation can cause stress. This forms a vicious cycle of elevated cortisol that suppresses bone marrow cell production and triggers osteoclasts.
Lack of Exercise:
Weight-bearing exercise has long been known to contribute to strong bones by indicating a strain on the tissue. As the bone is stressed, mechanoreceptors and hormones are activated to induce osteoblastic activity (leading to remodelling). If we challenge our bones on an ongoing basis, they must adapt and grow to keep up with the ongoing demand (Bonnet et al., 2010). This is why lack of exercise, in adolescence and adulthood, is such a huge risk factor for osteoporosis: no challenge leads to no reward.
AOR has formulated Advanced Bone Protection (ABP), a multifunctional protein-based product that works directly and indirectly on bone cells to form healthy bones.
The Benefits of AOR’s Advanced Bone Protection
AOR’s Advanced Bone Protection contains Milk Basic Protein (MBP), an active complex from the whey fraction of milk. The key advantage of ABP versus other bone health-promoting products is its multifunctional action. Milk Basic Protein is considered to be so vital to bone health in Japan, where it was discovered. that many food items are fortified with it. A number of studies of men and women have shown that ABP increases bone mineral density when compared to placebo (Aso et al., 2001, Aso et al., 2005). Enhanced bone density has been confirmed after six months of supplementation; but how does ABP actually work?
Perhaps the most important function of ABP is the modulation of osteoblast and osteoclast activity. ABP cultivates both the proliferation and activity of osteoblasts, while conversely inhibiting the same proliferation and activity of osteoclasts. By promoting osteoblast proliferation, ABP causes increased production of collagen. Also, ABP contains cystatin C, a protein that inhibits cysteine protease which digests collagen. Cystatin C also inhibits the release of calcium from bones. As such, the cystatin C component of ABP protects the framework of bone from being destroyed.
Merely taking a calcium supplement doesn’t increase bone formation as osteoblast activation is a required step; unless the osteoblasts are activated to ‘lay-down’ more bone, ingested calcium won’t be incorporated into your bones. ABP can act as a powerful adjunct to any calcium supplementation regimen by promoting the more effective utilization of the calcium you obtain from milk and other sources by making osteoblasts more receptive to calcium.
The activity of ABP is resistant to digestion and experiments have verified that digested and undigested ABP work on osteoblasts and osteoclasts in the same way. It is suggested to take one ABP capsule daily, with or without food or other supplements.
It is essential to keep our bones healthy so that they are better able to carry out their many functions. A variety of factors can cause bone breakdown, and one way to prevent excess bone loss is to modulate the activity of bone remodelling. ABP is a novel way to increase the ability of osteoblasts to lay down more bone, and also prevent breakdown by osteoclasts.
Aoe S, et al. A controlled trial of the effect of milk basic protein (MBP) supplementation on bone metabolism in healthy menopausal women. Osteoprosis International. 2005. 6(12):2123-8.
Aoe S, et al. Controlled Trial of the Effects of Milk Basic Protein (MBP) Supplementation on Bone Metabolism in Healthy Adult Women. Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem. 2001. 65:913-8.
Fu X et al. Association between sleep duration and bone mineral density in Chinese women. Bone 2011 Nov; 49(5):1062-6.
McLean RR. Proinflammatory cytokines and osteoporosis. Curr Osteoporos Rep 2009;7:134–9. 15.
Bonnet and Ferrari SL. Exercise and the skeleton: How it works and what it really does. IBMS BoneKEy 2010; 7(7):235-248