Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Purified sea slugs good for your bones

As you are aware osteoporosis is an issue with aging people. It is common to recommend supplements to people at risk. A company in the US is taking sea slugs from South American coast line and extracting their minerals, combining this with some vitamins, to make an anti-osteoporosis supplement. This supplement does not only contain calcium and magnesium but 12 other trace elements which may also support bone health. There were two types of supplements tested,  one just contained the sea slug concentrates, the other included additional vitamins, plus slightly higher mineral levels. The levels of key ingredients are in the following table, with major differences highlighted:

Supplement                                                     1        2
Strontium Citrate (mg)   680   680
AlgaeCal Bone-health Supplement 2 400 2 520
Trace Minerals in AlgaeCal (mg) 1 608 1 688
Calcium (mg)   720   756
Magnesium (mg)*     72     75
Magnesium from magnesium carbonate (mg)       0   275
Vitamin D-3 (IUs of Cholecalciferol)   800 1 600
Vitamin K-2 as MK-4 (mg)       1.5       0
Vitamin K-7 as MK-7 (mcg)       0   100
Boron (mg)       0       3
Vitamin C (mg)       0     50
 Now over the 6 month period that this supplement was tested, it was calculated that the subjects if not on any supplement would typically lose 0.6% of their bone density due to normal aging effects. However test group 1 had a 2.27% increase and test group 2 a significantly higher 3.72% increase.

Therefore we can conclude: (a) that supplementation with ingredients concentrated from natural source (sea slugs) helps prevent bone density decrease, and in fact increases it. (b) that a supplement with a larger range of elements, such as vitamins and additional minerals increases the bone density further.

This highlights a key issues with supplements. You are much better to take a supplement that has a range of nutrients, not just high levels of one nutrient. The body needs a whole variety of nutrients to do even a simple task, like increasing bone density. Hence when people supplement with just calcium, you are not going to improve your bone health that much. You need a range of nutrients so that the whole process of bone strengthening can occur. 

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