Juice-Up For Improved Bone Health

June 17, 2006 8:30 a.m. EST

Shaveta Bansal - All Headline News Staff Writer

(AHN) - A new U.S. study conducted on male rats at the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center suggests that regular doses of grapefruit and orange juice may help prevent osteoporosis-linked bone fractures in men.

As per a report by the Health Day, study's lead author Dr. Farzad Deyhim, a professor of human and animal nutrition at Texas A and M-Kingsville said the problem is prevalent among aging men as the level of testosterone decreases with age.

In their study, Deyhim and team divided the rats into three groups: those with no change in diet; those who received orange juice; and those who received grapefruit juice.

The rodents were fed fresh juice supplemented with sodium bicarbonate, to reduce acidity, every morning.

The researchers found that the juice-fed rats showed enhanced bone density.

In the scale up of the study, researchers are now trying to figure out which compound in citrus resulted in improved bone density in rats. "There are about 400 compounds in citrus, so we need to find out which compound in citrus caused this," said Dr. Bhimu Patil, director of the university's center.

Also the researchers will study the cellular makeup of the rats' bones so as to determine the mechanism how the juice actually improved bone strength.

"A reduction in bone density is caused when there is an increase in oxidants. In these studies, both grapefruit juice and orange juice increased antioxidants in the rats' systems," Patil said.

There are about 1.5 million fractures in the United States every year caused by osteoporosis, says Patil. "It's a silent disease of aging. But if we can maintain our bone strength, maybe we'll be able to prevent it."

The findings of the study are reported in the current issue of journal Nutrition.