Tequila Could Be the Basis for a New Osteoporosis Treatment

APRIL 11, 2016
Caitlyn Fitzpatrick
primary care, family medicine, internal medicine, endocrinology, rheumatology, hospital medicine, OBGYN, women’s health, men’s health, osteoporosis, diet, alcohol, tequilaIn addition to being the most important ingredient in margaritas, substances derived from tequila can play an important role in bone health.

Not only did new research find that Agave tequilana (or tequila agave) may help maintain bone health, but it could also be the basis for a new osteoporosis treatment. Mercedes López, PhD, led the project at the Center for Research and Advanced Studies (Cinvestav) in Mexico.

Using animal models, the researchers induced osteoporosis in mice by removing their ovaries. The animals were then given agave fructans (polymers that store carbohydrates in some fruits and vegetables). After eight weeks, femur samples were collected in order to assess the absorption of minerals and osteocalcin (a protein that indicates new bone production).

“It was found that mice that consumed this fructans synthesized nearly 50% more of such protein, in addition that the diameter of their bones was higher compared with the subjects which were not supplied with derivatives of the agave,” López explained in a news release. Therefore, even with the presence of osteoporosis, the agave fructans (along with intestinal microbiota) promoted new bone formation. The team specified that the substances interacted with microbiota in the large intestine to create short-chain fatty acids. The minerals become available in the tract and are transported to cells.

“This way, we have a second chance to take advantage of the nutrients that were no longer available to the body. However, it is very important that people have a healthy intestinal microbiome, because only then it is possible that bacteria ferment fructans to transform them into fatty acids,” López continued.

López plans to conduct clinical trials to further evaluate fructans and hopefully develop the findings into a treatment for bone-weakening osteoporosis. She has already applied for a national patent on the strategy.

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