A small every day serving of Jarlsberg cheese may help stop bone loss

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A small (57g) daily serving of Jarlsberg cheese may help prevent bone loss (osteopenia/osteoporosis) without raising harmful low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, according to a small comparative clinical trial published in an open access journal. BMJ Nutrition Prevention and Health.

The effect appears to be specific to this type of cheese, the findings suggest.

Jarlsberg is a mild to semi-soft, nutty cheese made from cow’s milk with regular holes. He comes from Jarlsberg in eastern Norway.

Previous research suggests that it may help increase levels of osteocalcin, a hormone associated with strong bones and teeth, but it’s unclear whether this effect is specific to Jarlsberg or any other type of cheese.

To find out, researchers studied 66 healthy women (mean age 33, mean BMI 24) who were randomly assigned to either a 57g serving of Jarlsberg (41) or a 50g serving of Camembert cheese (25) daily. their diet for 6 weeks.

At the end of this period, the group eating Camembert was switched to Jarlsberg for another six weeks.

Jarlsberg and Camembert have similar fat and protein levels, but unlike Camembert, Jarlsberg is high in vitamin K2, also known as menaquinone (MK), which is available in several varieties.

Short-chain MK-4 is found in animal products such as liver. The long-chain MK-7, MK-8, MK-9, and MK-9(4H) come from bacteria and are found in certain fermented foods, such as cheese. Jarlsberg is particularly rich in MK-9 and MK-9(4H).

Blood samples were taken from all participants every six weeks to check for the presence of a key protein, osteocalcin and a peptide (PINP) involved in bone turnover. Blood levels of vitamin K2 and fat were also measured.

Analysis of blood samples showed that key biochemical markers of bone turnover, including osteocalcin and vitamin K2, were significantly increased in the Jarlsberg group after 6 weeks.

Among individuals in the Camembert group, PINP levels did not change, while other biochemical markers decreased slightly. However, after moving to Jarlsberg, they increased significantly. PINP levels also increased.

Both groups had a slight increase in blood lipids after 6 weeks. However, total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol decreased significantly in the Camembert group when they switched to Jarlsberg.

Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) – the amount of glucose trapped in red blood cells – decreased significantly (3%) in the Jarlsberg group, while it increased significantly (2%) in those who ate Camembert. However, switching to Jarlsberg significantly reduced HbA1c in this group as well.

Calcium and magnesium significantly decreased in the Jarlsberg group but remained unchanged in the Camembert group. After changing the cheese, calcium levels also decreased in this group, possibly reflecting increased absorption of these key minerals bone formation“, say the scientists.

“Daily consumption of Jarlsberg cheese has a positive effect on osteocalcin, etc [markers of bone turnover]glycated hemoglobin and lipids,” the researchers write, concluding that the effect is unique to this cheese.

The bacteria (Proprionebacterium freudenreichii) in Jarlsberg that produce MK-9-(4H) also produce a substance called DHNA, which experimental studies show can combat bone loss and increase bone formation and possibly explain the increase in osteocalcin. .

They also suggest that Jarlsberg cheese may therefore help prevent osteopenia – the stage before osteoporosis – and metabolic diseases such as diabetes, although further research is needed to confirm this, they stress.

“This study shows that while calcium and vitamin D are known to be extremely important for bone health, there are other important factors such as vitamin K2 that may not be as well known,” comments Executive Director Professor Sumantra Ray. NNEdPro Global Center for Nutrition and Health, which co-owns the journal.

He adds that the study also highlights an important research problem: “Different preparation methods mean that cheese, which until now has often been considered a homogeneous food in dietary research, has a different nutrient composition.” This needs to be addressed in future studies.”

However, he cautions: “As this is a small study in young and healthy people to explore new pathways linking diet and bone health, the results should be interpreted with great caution as the study participants may not necessarily be representative of other populations.” this should not be taken as a recommendation to eat a certain type of cheese.


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More information:
Effects of daily cheese consumption with and without vitamin K2 on bone anabolic markers: a randomized clinical trial. BMJ Nutrition Prevention and Health (2022). DOI: 10.1135/bmjnph-2022-000424

Quote: A small daily serving of Jarlsberg cheese may help prevent bone loss (2 Aug 2022) via 2022 August 3 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-08-small-daily-portion-jarlsberg-cheese.html

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