Study in mice shows blackcurrants may offer 'significant' protection to help prevent post-menopausal bone loss

Study in mice shows blackcurrants may offer 'significant' protection to help prevent post-menopausal bone loss

AN American study using New Zealand blackcurrant 35% extract has shown the potential for blackcurrants to help prevent and even reverse post-menopausal bone loss and osteoporosis in women.

Scientists at the University of Conneticut investigated whether the antioxidant actions of blackcurrant extract - the same used in CurraNZ - could improve bone mass in oestrogen-deficient mice (mimicking the ovarian-hormone deficient status of post-menopausal women) during four, eight and 12 weeks of supplementation.

The study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food showed how the mice supplemented with blackcurrant extract experienced significant improvement to the structural architecture of their bones.

Oestrogen is important for maintaining bone density and a decline in this hormone is a major cause of osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. While calcium, vitamin D and soy isoflavones can help reduce the risk, studies have also found that fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C and polyphenols can also be beneficial.

Inflammation and oxidative stress (the ‘ageing’ process of cells) also play an important role in bone remodelling and the development of osteoporosis. Blackcurrants contain one particular anthocyanin that offers the highest protective effect against oxidative stress.  

Scientists believe blackcurrant’s ‘significant’ protective effect demonstrated in the study is due to the powerful antioxidant components of the berry and not any oestrogen-mimicking effect.

While the study was conducted in mice and not humans, scientists are looking at further studies to determine the lowest effective blackcurrant dose and underlying mechanism for its effect on aiding bone density.

Reference: Anthocyanin-Rich Blackcurrant Extract Attenuates Ovariectomy-Induced Bone Loss in Mice. J Med Food (4) 2016, 390-397 DOI: 10.1089/jmf.2015.0148