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Green Tea Extracts Plus Vitamin D Boost Bone Health

December 01, 2010 | 66,982 views

green tea extract Green tea polyphenols combined with a form of vitamin D called alfacalcidol could boost bone structure and strength, according to a new study in mice.

The mixture may reverse damage to bones caused by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced chronic inflammation, which could in turn reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Chronic inflammation causes bone loss through oxidative stress and excessive production of pro-inflammatory molecules.

According to NutraIngredients:

"The researchers reported that both extracted green tea polyphenols and alfacalcidol supplementations reversed LPS-induced changes in bone structure, whilst a combination of both was shown to sustain bone micro-architecture and strength."

Green tea polyphenols and vitamin D have been found to not only boost bone structure and strength, but also potentially reverse damage caused by chronic inflammation. Such damage can lead to bone loss over time and may increase your risk of osteoporosis.

Vitamin D and Green Tea: A Winning Combo for Bone Health?

Vitamin D is a well-known factor in bone health, as children who are deficient can develop rickets, a disorder that can lead to weakened bones, fractures and skeletal deformities. But even beyond childhood, vitamin D, or "the sunshine vitamin," is clearly associated with stronger bones and prevention of osteopenia, osteoporosis and osteomalacia.

Green tea is a relative newcomer in the bone-health arena, but previous studies have also found that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a component of green tea, blocks the activity of two molecules, IL-6 and cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2), which play a role in breaking down bone.

Why You Should Make Sure Your Vitamin D Levels are Optimized This Winter

Bone health is only one of many reasons why you need to make sure your vitamin D levels are in the optimal range.

Vitamin D is actually a "prohormone," which your body produces from cholesterol. Because it is a prohormone, vitamin D influences your entire body -- receptors thatnbs respond to the vitamin have been found in almost every type of human cell, from your brain to your bones.

So what modern science has now realized is that vitamin D does more than just aid in the absorption of calcium and bone formation, it is also involved in multiple repair and maintenance functions, touches thousands of different genes, regulates your immune system, and much, much more.

Just one example of an important gene that vitamin D up-regulates is your ability to fight infections, as well as chronic inflammation as the study above also found. It produces over 200 antimicrobial peptides, the most important of which is cathelicidin, a naturally occurring broad-spectrum antibiotic.

This is one of the explanations for why it's so effective against colds and influenza.

In addition, since vitamin D also modulates (balances) your immune response, it can prevent an overreaction in the form of inflammation, which can lead to a variety of autoimmune disorders, such as Crohn's disease for example.

In recent years vitamin D has really emerged as a star of the "vitamin" world. For example, there are currently over 800 studies showing vitamin D's effectiveness against cancer. Optimizing your vitamin D levels can literally cut your risk of several cancers by 50 percent!

Further, middle aged and elderly people with high levels of vitamin D could reduce their chances of developing heart disease or diabetes by 43 percent.

How to Optimize Your Vitamin D

New studies show that about 85 percent of the U.S. population is vitamin D deficient if one uses the new optimal blood levels of vitamin D as the criteria. This is primarily related to the recent appreciation that your levels of vitamin D should be MUCH higher than previously thought.

The OPTIMAL value of vitamin D that you're looking for has recently been raised to 50-70 ng/ml, with even higher recommended levels required for more serious disease prevention.

The ONLY way to determine what your levels are and how much vitamin D you might need is by testing your blood level of vitamin D.

If your levels are low, you can use safe sunlight exposure, a safe tanning bed, oral vitamin D3 supplementation or a combination of them to get your levels optimized.

More Reasons to Drink Green Tea …

Just as vitamin D has many more benefits beyond bone health, green tea also exhibits its own set of impressive benefits. Previous studies indicate that EGCG in green tea may be helpful in preventing and/or treating:

  • Dementia
  • High blood lipid
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Cerebral thrombus
  • Pain and inflammation related to rheumatoid arthritis
  • Prostate cancer

It may also offer protection against heart disease, and may help protect fatty livers after a liver transplant. Green tea may even have fat-burning properties, which are related to a class of polyphenols called catechins -- naturally occurring antioxidants that have a number of physiological and pharmacological properties.

There is a misconception that it takes pot upon pot of green tea to add up to any significant benefits. In reality, much of the research on green tea has been based on about three cups daily.

My advice?

If you enjoy green tea, add a few cups to your day as an overall healthy addition to your diet.

My personal favorite is Matcha green tea; it has a wonderful flavor and superior nutrient content as it has not been damaged through processing. The best Matcha green tea comes from Japan and is steamed, rather than roasted or pan-fried. As a result, Matcha green tea retains all the nutrient-rich value possible from the tea leaf. I also enjoy Tulsi iced tea on occasion, lightly sweetened with stevia.

10 More Tips for Bone Health

Vitamin D and green tea are both healthy additions to your lifestyle, but they are not the only factors you need to address for bone health.

If you want to maintain or increase your bone strength, here are the top steps you should take:

  • Increase your consumption of vegetables and eat them based on your body's unique nutritional type. If you find it difficult to eat the recommended amount of vegetables you need daily, you can also try vegetable juicing.

    Eating high quality, organic, biodynamic, locally grown food will naturally increase your bone density and decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis.

  • Avoid processed foods. If you eat a diet full of processed foods, it will produce biochemical and metabolic conditions in your body that will decrease your bone density, so avoiding processed foods is a first step in the right direction.
  • Consume a healthy balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fats, and especially reduce or eliminate the amount of processed vegetable oils such as corn, canola, safflower, and soy that you consume.

    Most everyone needs to take a high quality, animal-based omega 3 fat. I recommend krill oil, as I believe it's a superior source of omega 3's.

  • Avoid gluten, a grain protein that has been shown to decrease bone density. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt.
  • Avoid soda and sugar, which increase bone damage by depleting your bones of calcium.
  • Avoid steroids, especially if you have asthma or any other autoimmune disease. Steroids increase your risk for osteoporosis.
  • Consider supplementing with vitamin K2 if you are not getting enough from food alone. Vitamin K2 serves as the biological "glue" that helps plug the calcium into your bone matrix. The dose is about 185 mcg per day.

    Fermented foods, such as natto, typically have the highest concentration of vitamin K found in the human diet and can provide several milligrams of vitamin K2 on a daily basis.

  • Optimize your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D builds your bone density, in part, by helping your body absorb calcium.
  • Exercise. Studies show that exercise is just as important to your bone health as eating a calcium-rich diet. Strength-building exercises like weight training are especially helpful here.
  • Consider natural progesterone, which can increase your bone strength. It does this by serving as a growth promoter for the osteoblasts (the cells that build bone). For more on progesterone, please review Complications Regarding Progesterone Cream.

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