Researchers have uncovered a previously unknown biological process involving vitamin B12 and taurine that regulates the production of new bone cells. This pathway could be a potential new target for osteoporosis treatment.
In humans it is well known that vitamin deficiencies lead to stunted growth, but the underlying mechanisms have long been a mystery. In this study, the team was able to piece together the biological process that leads to the production of new bone by studying the offspring of mice lacking the Gastric Intrinsic Factor gene, which is active in the stomach and allows the gut to absorb vitamin B12.
“Bone cells aren’t solely studied in isolation in the lab as both local and systemic factors play an important role in their function, so it’s important to unpick the multitude of biological factors that can affect their proliferation,” says Dr Pablo Roman-Garcia, a first author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. “We were amazed to find a new system that controls bone mass through a protein expressed, of all the places, in the stomach.”
The researchers found that bone mass was severely reduced at eight weeks of age in the offspring of mice with vitamin B12 deficiency. Giving the mother a single injection of vitamin B12 during pregnancy was enough to prevent stunted growth and the onset of osteoporosis in the offspring. The team was surprised to find that B12-deficient mice had only one-third of the normal number of bone-creating osteoblast cells, but had no change in bone-degrading osteoclast cells.
Reducing vitamin B12 levels in bone cells in the laboratory did not affect the function of the bone-forming cells directly, while under the same conditions it affected liver cell functions profoundly. These findings suggested to researchers that the liver has an important role to play. This was confirmed when they showed that liver cells from the offspring of B12-deficient mothers were unable to produce taurine. When these mice were fed regular doses of taurine at three weeks of age, they recovered bone mass and grew normally.
“While the importance of taurine is yet to be fully understood, this research shows that vitamin B12 plays a role in regulating taurine production and that taurine plays an important role in bone formation,” Dr Vidya Velagapudi, Head of the Metabolomics Unit at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland. “To date we have focussed only on vitamin B12-deficient populations, but the next stages of this research will need to confirm the connection between vitamin B12, taurine and bone formation in general populations.”
While the focus of this study was the impact of maternal vitamin B12 deficiency on offspring in mouse models, there are promising parallels between these findings and data from human patients. Samples collected by Kocaeli University Hospital, Turkey from children born of nutritionally vitamin B12-deficient mothers also showed a significant decrease in levels of vitamin B12 and taurine. In addition, older patients with vitamin B12 deficiency from a study by the Institute for Molecular Medicine, Finland displayed a statistically positive correlation, suggesting that vitamin B12 plays a key role in regulating taurine synthesis and bone formation in humans of all ages.
“The discovery of this unanticipated pathway between gut, liver and bone would not have been possible without the use of mouse molecular genetics and studies in the clinic that allowed us to understand interactions between these organs,” says Dr Vijay K Yadav, a senior author from the Sanger Institute. “The fact that the vitamin B12-taurine-bone pathway affects only bone formation and appears to play the same role in mice and human beings raises the prospect that targeting this pathway through pharmacological means could be a novel approach toward an anabolic treatment of osteoporosis”.
The elements to good health – eating, food, nutrition and health has taken a divergent route. The introduction of additives and nutrients won’t necessarily lead to good health. However, you might fool your body for a while with some of these snacks that border on food porn. Clearly, these are not essential but they sure might make you feel lit up. In the meantime, you can sign up for a healing circle for your adrenal glands in a neighborhood near you.
With the myriad of caffeinated products on store shelves these days, there’s hardly any need for coffee. Everything from jerky and sunflower seeds to waffles and ice cream is offering a buzz. We decided to take a look at some of the products currently providing consumers with a caffeine kick.
Because of this influx of new products and their potential appeal to children, the Food and Drug Administration is evaluating their safety and how to best regulate the changing market.
While it does so, we thought we’d share this quick review from Hella Wella and take a closer look at some of the products currently providing consumers with a caffeine kick. Watch out Starbucks!
Arma Energy Snx Potato Chips & Granola
“It’s not your mom’s granola,” says Arma Energy Snx’s website. The company makes kettle-cooked potato chips, granola, fruit mix and trail mix — all “energy-infused” with caffeine, taurine and B vitamins. One 2-ounce package of BBQ kettle-cooked chips contains 290 calories and 70 milligrams of caffeine — that’s slightly less than a shot of espresso.
Bang! Ice Cream
Even your dessert can bring a buzz. And in the case of Bang! ice cream, you might want to have dessert toward the beginning of the day since one serving dishes out 125 milligrams of caffeine — roughly equivalent to a cup of coffee. The ice cream comes in four flavors: Peanut Butta, Heaps of Gold, Iced Latte-Da and Cooky Mint.
Blue Diamond Roasted Coffee Almonds
Blue Diamond jumped on the bandwagon with its roasted coffee-flavored almonds, which contain 25 milligrams of caffeine per serving. Keep in mind, though, that there are four servings per package, so if you plan on chowing down all of it, you’re looking at the same amount of caffeine that’s in some energy shots.
Frito Lay made headlines last November when it announced its new line of snacks: Cracker Jack’D. Unlike the famous Cracker Jacks snack that came before it, Cracker Jack’D comes with 70 milligrams of caffeine — about what you’d get from a shot of espresso. The 2-ounce snack mix comes in flavors like zesty queso, PB & chocolate, berry yogurt and cheddar BBQ.
Crackheads2 Gourmet Chocolate Coffee Caffeine
Crackheads2 (squared) makes no apologies for its extreme caffeine content. In fact, it boasts it wherever it can. One box of the candy- and chocolate-coated coffee beans contains 600 milligrams of caffeine — the equivalent of six cups of coffee, 7.5 cans of Red Bull and 11 cans of Mountain Dew, according to the company’s website. Good luck sleeping!
Jelly Belly Sport Beans
You (hopefully) won’t find these jellybeans in a kid’s Easter basket. Jelly Belly’s Extreme Sport Beans are advertised as “quick energy for sports performance.” The website recommends popping the beans 30 minutes before your workout and says they’re “loaded with carbs for fuel, electrolytes to help maintain fluid balance and vitamins to optimize energy release and protect cells against oxidative damage.” A single 1-ounce package packs 100 calories, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 17 grams of sugar and 50 milligrams of caffeine — a little more of a jolt than you’d get from a can of Diet Coke.
Perky Jerky found its way onto the market after its creators accidentally drenched their beef jerky in an energy drink and ate it, only to find it boosted their energy as they skied. The brand is advertised as “all natural, ultra premium jerky” that’s made with a seven-ingredient marinade that includes guarana (the stuff you’ll find in energy drinks). One 1-ounce package offers 150 milligrams of caffeine — about what you’d find in a Monster energy drink.
Apparently even sunflower seeds are capable of being infused with caffeine. Sumseeds come in flavors like dill pickle, honey BBQ, ranch, and salt and pepper — in addition to the original flavor — and pack 140 milligrams of caffeine into a single 1.75-ounce bag.
You won’t need coffee with this breakfast. Wired Waffles are exactly what they sound like: waffles — even maple syrup — with caffeine. With 200 milligrams per waffle and about 48 milligrams per serving of syrup, you’re looking at a buzz stronger than what you’d get from most energy drinks.