Mom Was Right About Milk and Bones: New Studies Show Your Bones Control Everything from Your Sex Drive to Your Blood Sugar?

By /

Receive a Regenexx® Patient Info Packet by email and learn why it's a superior regenerative solution.

milk and bones

We think of bones as inanimate cement, supporting our body. In fact, it’s still this wrong impression of bone as structure only that infects modern orthopedic surgery. For example, as I’ve blogged before, bone is living tissue that reacts. So many bone spurs are evidence that your body is trying to fix itself rather than an indication that’s it’s broken. Now a scientist at Columbia University has again expanded this understanding of bone as “alive” by showing that a hormone produced by bone can impact everything from your brain to your genitals.

The hormone is called Osteocalcin. What’s interesting about this messenger chemical is that it’s only secreted by ostoblast cells. When a bone stem cell wants to make more bone, it becomes an osteoblast cell. This cell can produce new bone components like a master mason laying brick. Up until recently, while we knew that osteocalcin was produced by osteoblasts and told their kind to make more bone, we didn’t know what else it did. Then a researcher at Columbia noticed that mice bred to not produce osteocalcin were diabetic, so he confirmed through additional experiments that osteocalcin also regulated blood sugar in both mice and humans. Think of this for a second. Your bone health may be one of the things that determines if you’ll become a diabetic or not! In fact he later discovered that your pancreas produces insulin that talks to your bone osteoblasts which in turn talk back through osteocalcin to help keep blood sugar in check.

So if this major discovery had stayed at bones control blood sugar, it would have been freaky enough, however how about the concept that bones control your sex drive? Yes Columbia later discovered that Osteocalcin also controls testosterone production. This actually makes some sense, as we know that men on testosterone have thicker bones, so that testosterone makes osteoblasts build more bone. However, now we know that the bone cells produce a hormone that tells your genitals to make more testosterone! If you think of this one from an evolutionary standpoint, strong males have strong bones who live to procreate, so it makes sense that strong muscles, strong bones, and sex drive would be somehow associated. In fact this group’s most recent publication shows that male fertility itself is regulated through a bone-pancreas-testis axis.

The upshot? Mom was right about milk and bones! Drink your milk to build strong bones because good bones may have a lot more to do with your overall health than we ever imagined! In addition, because of these discoveries, we may have to be really careful with how we use drugs to impact bone. For example, one of our main therapeutic strategies for helping female osteoporosis is by using chemicals to poison the ostoclasts (the opposite cell type from ostoblasts that break down bone). The most common osteoporosis drug class called Bisphosphonates works this way. We already know that these drugs can lead to osteonecrois (bone death) in certain patients. What’s happening in these patients to their testosterone or insulin levels? For example, one recent study suggested that patients with diabetic complications were at higher risk for bone osteonecrosis by taking bisphosphonates. Is the drug impact on osteocalcin levels the missing link between those two issues? Looks like we need more research in this area.

Category: Diet/Nutrition

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
View Profile

Get Blog Updates by Email

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
Select Your Problem Area
Shoulder

Shoulder

Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

  • Rotator Cuff Tears and Tendinitis
  • Shoulder Instability
  • SLAP Tear / Labral Tears
  • Shoulder Arthritis
  • Other Degenerative Conditions & Overuse Injuries
Learn More
Cervical Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Knee

Knees

Knees are the target of many common sports injuries. Sadly, they are also the target of a number of surgeries that research has frequently shown to be ineffective or minimally effective. Knee arthritis can also be a common cause for aging athletes to abandon the sports and activities they love. Regenerative procedures can be used to treat a wide range of knee injuries and conditions. They can even be used to reduce pain and delay knee replacement for more severe arthritis.

  • Knee Meniscus Tears
  • Knee ACL Tears
  • Knee Instability
  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Other Knee Ligaments / Tendons & Overuse Injuries
  • And more
Learn More
Lower Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Hand & Wrist

Hand & Wrist

Hand and wrist injuries and arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and conditions relating to overuse of the thumb, are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Hand and Wrist Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trigger Finger
  • Thumb Arthritis (Basal Joint, CMC, Gamer’s Thumb, Texting Thumb)
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More
Elbow

Elbow

Most injuries of the elbow’s tendons and ligaments, as well as arthritis, can be treated non-surgically with regenerative procedures.

  • Golfer’s elbow & Tennis elbow
  • Arthritis
  • Ulnar collateral ligament wear (common in baseball pitchers)
  • And more
Learn More
Hip

Hip

Hip injuries and degenerative conditions become more common with age. Do to the nature of the joint, it’s not quite as easy to injure as a knee, but it can take a beating and pain often develops over time. Whether a hip condition is acute or degenerative, regenerative procedures can help reduce pain and may help heal injured tissue, without the complications of invasive surgical hip procedures.

  • Labral Tear
  • Hip Arthritis
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Hip Sprain, Tendonitis or Inflammation
  • Hip Instability
Learn More
Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle

Foot and ankle injuries are common in athletes. These injuries can often benefit from non-surgical regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Ankle Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More

Is Regenexx Right For You?

Request a free Regenexx Info Packet

REGENEXX WEBINARS

Learn about the #1 Stem Cell & Platelet Procedures for treating arthritis, common joint injuries & spine pain.

Join a Webinar

RECEIVE BLOG ARTICLES BY EMAIL

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Blog

FOLLOW US

Copyright © Regenexx 2019. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.

LinkedIn
Email