Villa CR, Ward WE, Comelli EM. - - Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2016

Gut Microbiota-bone Axis

The gut microbiota (GM) is an important regulator of body homeostasis, including intestinal and extra-intestinal effects. This review focuses on the gut microbiota-bone axis, which we define as the impartial effect of the gut-associated microbial community or the molecules they synthesize, on bone health. While research in this field is limited, findings from preclinical studies support that gut microbes positively impact bone mineral density and strength parameters. Moreover, administration of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) in preclinical models has demonstrated higher bone mineralization and greater bone strength. The preferential bacterial genus that has shown these beneficial effects in bone is Lactobacillus and thus lactobacilli are among the best candidates for future clinical intervention trials. However, their effectiveness is dependent on stage of development, as early life constitutes an important time for impacting bone health, perhaps via modulation of the GM. In addition, sex-specific difference also impacts the efficacy of the probiotics. Although auspicious, many questions regarding the gut microbiota-bone axis require consideration of potential mechanisms; sex-specific efficacy; effective dose of probiotics; and timing and duration of treatment.