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More Fat = Less Bone Density

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Osteoporosis and obesity are two very widespread complex diseases. Both of these diseases consist of multi-factorial etiologies including environmental and genetic components. This etiology is also thought of as having potential interaction or you can say potential relation between them. This relationship has lead many to believe that more fat is very much equivalent to less bone density.

Obesity can be called a condition where excessive fat gets deposited in the body exacerbating several health issues and problems. Primarily, BMI is used to measure the degree of obesity. BMI however, is not able to distinguish between the lean mass and the body fat. Consequently, a more advanced and refined method, called phenotype, have been brought into practice for studying obesity like PFM or percentage fat mass, lean mass and fat mass. On the other hand, Osteoporosis can be called a skeletal disease which is characterized highly by reduced bone mass and can be defined in any individual with help of BMD or bone mineral density.

Numerous epidemiological data and various studies have shown that high BMI or high body weight is very much related to the gain in the bone mass; whereas a low body weight or reduction in the same might lead to bone loss. However, the basic mechanism supporting this correlation is still unclear, though a lot of different explanations and clarifications have been proposed. Basically, it is accepted that, a larger and bigger body mass exerts a huge amount of mechanical loading on the body and eventually on the bone and in order to accommodate such an immense load the bone increase.

Moreover, scientific evindence, based mostly on animal studies also indicates that there is a connection between the type of fat in the diet and bone health. Some of the human studies assessed the relations between dietary fat and hip bone mineral density. Groups of both men and women were analysed considering age, weight, height, race, smoking, total energy and calcium intake and weight-bearing exercise. Data from women were also adjusted for hormone replacement therapy. Results shown that intake of vitamin C and Alfa-Carotene have no influence on the outcome.

In the end saturated fat intake was found to be negatively associated with bone mineral density, meaning that consumption of saturated fat in excess decreases bone mineral density. Greatest effects were seen in men under 50 years, so it seems that not only women are sensitive to these effects. So itís highly recommended to review your diet from this point of view, because fat intake in excess also causes less mineral density in bones which can lead to further diseases.

Furthermore, adipocytes are believed, in post-menopausal women, to be an imperative source of estrogen production and this estrogen slows down bone resorption by osteoclasts. It has also been proposed that an increasing BMI, in post-menopausal women, supported with an escalating adipose tissue results in Osteoclast suppression, amplified estrogen production and the resultant of both the factor eventually leading to an increased bone mass.

Moreover, years of research have also concluded that obesity is also closely related to insulin resistance, which is characterized by an increased level of plasma. High plasma-insulin level may lead to numerous abnormalities, including over-production of estrogen and androgen in ovary, and reduced SHBG production by the liver. These changes results in augmented osteoblast activity and reduced osteoclast activity leading to the increase in the bone mass. Generally, 16 to 25 % of the body weight is fat and mass, in a normal-weight human, and the rest is lean mass. A recent study by the University Of Missouri School Of Medicine has also suggested that there lies the correlation between reduced bone mass and excess of body fat. The study from this University is of immense importance as they used subjects from different genetic and ethnic backgrounds. Though the study could not reveal why this is the case but it did reveal one thing more fat= less bone density.

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