Copper & Osteoporosis

Note: The following abstracts are written in extremely technical language and include technical research and case studies. References are provided. For 'user-friendly' informative reading, check out the health topics presented by Dr. Martin and Dr. Davenport. Feel free to contact us for more information or if you have any questions.

The relationship of nutritional copper to the development of postmenopausal osteoporosis in rats

Factors that influence tissue copper concentration include age, diet, hormones, and pregnancy. In this study we altered diet independently, hormone (estrogen) independently, and various combinations of diet and hormone in animals of the same age to study the effects of ovariectomy complicated with dietary copper deficiency; a deficiency that has been demonstrated to cause bone defects. Sprague-Dawley rats were placed on various combinations of copper deficient or enriched diets before and/or after ovariectomy to determine if copper deficiency aggravated osteoporosis and if return to a copper-adequate diet alleviated it. In this study, ovariectomy did induce an osteopenia that was characterized by decreased trabecular bone. This osteopenia was slightly more severe with copper deficiency, but was not necessarily alleviated by the return of normal copper levels to the diet.

Yee-CD; Kubena-KS; Walker-M; Champney-TH; Sampson-HW
Biol-Trace-Elem-Res. 1995 Apr; 48(1): 1-11*+

Spinal bone loss in postmenopausal women supplemented with calcium and trace minerals

The effects of calcium supplementation (as calcium citrate malate, 1000 mg elemental Ca/d) with and without the addition of zinc (15.0 mg/d), manganese (5.0 mg/d) and copper (2.5 mg/d) on spinal bone loss (L2-L4 vertebrae) was evaluated in healthy older postmenopausal women (n = 59, mean age 66 y) in a 2-y, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Changes (mean +/- SEM) in bone density were -3.53 +/- 1.24% (placebo), -1.89 +/- 1.40% (trace minerals only), -1.25 +/- 1.46% (calcium only) and 1.48 +/- 1.40% (calcium plus trace minerals). Bone loss relative to base-line value was significant (P = 0.0061) in the placebo group but not in the groups receiving trace minerals alone, calcium alone, or calcium plus trace minerals. The only significant group difference occurred between the placebo group and the group receiving calcium plus trace minerals (P = 0.0099). These data suggest that bone loss in calcium-supplemented, older postmenopausal women can be further arrested by concomitant increases in trace mineral intake.

Strause-L; Saltman-P; Smith-KT; Bracker-M; Andon-MB
J-Nutr. 1994 Jul; 124(7): 1060-4

Calcium supplementation modifies the relative amounts of bile acids in bile and affects key aspects of human colon physiology

Use of calcium supplements has increased dramatically in recent years yet little is known about the effect of calcium supplementation on colon physiology. We supplemented 22 individuals with a history of resected adenocarcinoma of the colon, but currently free of cancer, with 2000 or 3000 mg calcium for 16 wk. The effects of supplementation on duodenal bile acids and important fecal characteristics including total fecal output, wet and dry weight, pH, bile acids (in solids and in fecal water), and concentrations and total excretion of calcium, magnesium, phosphates (organic and inorganic), unesterified fatty acids and total fat were determined. Calcium supplementation significantly decreased the proportion of water in the stool (P = 0.03), doubled fecal excretion of calcium (P = 0.006), and increased excretion of organic phosphate (P = 0.035) but not magnesium. Calcium supplementation significantly decreased the proportion of chenodeoxycholic acid in bile (P = 0.007) and decreased the ratio of lithocholate to deoxycholate in feces (P = 0.06). The concentration of primary bile acids in fecal water decreased after 16 wk Ca supplementation. Together with other reports of a "healthier" bile acid profile with respect to colon cancer when changes such as those observed in this study were achieved, these results suggest a protective effect of calcium supplementation against this disease.

Lupton-JR; Steinbach-G; Chang-WC; O'Brien-BC; Wiese-S; Stoltzfus-CL; Glober-GA; Wargovich-MJ; McPherson-RS; Winn-RJ
J-Nutr. 1996 May; 126(5): 1421-8

The role of trace minerals in osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a multifactorial disease with dimensions of genetics, endocrine function, exercise and nutritional considerations. Of particular considerations are calcium (Ca) status, Vitamin D, fluoride, magnesium and other trace elements. Several trace elements, particularly copper (Cu), manganese (Mn) and zinc (Zn), are essential in bone metabolism as cofactors for specific enzymes. Our investigations regarding the role of Cu, Mn and Zn in bone metabolism include data from studies with animals on Cu- and Mn-deficient diets. We have also demonstrated cellular deficiencies using bone powder implants, as well as fundamental changes in organic matrix constituents. In clinical studies we have demonstrated the efficacy of Ca, Cu, Mn and Zn supplementation on spinal bone mineral density in postmenopausal women. Each of these studies demonstrated the necessity of trace elements for optimal bone matrix development and bone density sustenance.

Saltman-PD; Strause-LG
J-Am-Coll-Nutr. 1993 Aug; 12(4): 384-9

Ancient skeletal remains of the Canary Islands: bone histology and chemical analysis

Prehispanic burials from the Canary Islands are often well preserved. Many of the bodies are mummified, most of them were not interred, but deposited in caves. Bone histological and trace element analysis of 117 skeletons of the prehispanic period of the Canary Islands was performed. In some of the islands we have found a high prevalence of osteoporosis, whereas in others, histomorphometrically assessed trabecular bone mass (TBM) (in undecalcified iliac crest specimens) was in the normal range. Bone trace elements analysis have shown high bone S(r), Mg and Mn, and low Fe, Zn and Cu in those skeletons with a more reduced TBM. These facts speak for a relative protein-calorie malnutrition and a consumption of a mainly vegetarian diet. This is especially marked in the skeletons from Gran Canaria.

Gonzalez-Reimers-E; Arnay-de-la-Rosa-M
Anthropol-Anz. 1992 Sep; 50(3): 201-15

A reassessment of diet and osteoporosis--possible role for copper

Much emphasis has centred on the role of dietary calcium and calcium supplementation in the pathophysiology and prevention of osteoporosis. Yet there is accumulating evidence that current recommendations on preventive measures are at best of little value and are inconsistent with the available epidemiological data. It is proposed that more attention should be given to dietary trace elements, especially copper, in the aetiology of post-menopausal osteoporosis. Osteoporotic lesions attributable to copper deficiency have been described in both man and animals and the hypothesis that a mild dietary copper deficiency may be implicated in the onset and progression of osteoporosis is also consistent with the epidemiological evidence. Many western diets are low in copper but in addition milk and milk products are amongst the poorest sources of copper and lactose may interfere with copper metabolism. Current recommendations, therefore, for the prevention of osteoporosis may actually be detrimental to health.

Med-Hypotheses. 1988 Dec; 27(4): 333-8

Nutritional factors in causation of osteoporosis

Peak bone mass is gained by the age of 35 years. Bone mass is a fragility-related factor for which there are currently recognized nutritional interactions. Calcium seems to be the most important nutrient for bone health. In addition manganese, zinc and copper are needed but their role in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis is largely unknown. For prophylactic purposes daily calcium intake should be high enough (1,000-1,500 mg).

Ann-Chir-Gynaecol. 1988; 77(5-6): 176-9

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