This cheese could be the latest superfood with unique properties to improve bone health

Eating small amounts of a particular Norwegian cheese may actually help prevent weakening of bones without raising cholesterol, according to a new study.

Norwegian researchers have found that eating a daily serving (about 57g) of Jarlsberg can help prevent bone thinning without raising harmful low-density cholesterol, and the health benefits are unique to this very particular cheese.

Jarlsberg is a soft and semi-soft nutty cheese made from cow’s milk, with regular holes. The cheese comes from a town of the same name in eastern Norway.

The Norwegian team hopes the cheese may help stop osteoporosis and even prevent diabetes, but more research is needed.

Previous research has suggested it may help increase levels of osteocalcin – a hormone associated with strong bones and teeth – but it’s unclear whether this effect is specific to Jarlsberg or any type of cheese. .

Jarlsberg versus Camembert

In an effort to find out, the academics studied 66 healthy women who ate either a daily serving of Jarlsberg or 50g of camembert every day for six weeks.

Both cheeses have similar fat and protein levels, but Jarlsberg is high in vitamin K2 – also known as menaquinone – unlike Camembert.

One form of menaquinone is found in animal products such as liver, while others come from bacteria and fermented foods such as cheese.

At the end of the six-week period, the group eating camembert were allowed to eat on the Jarlsberg for another six weeks.

All participants were healthy women with an average age of 33 years and an average weight.

Every six weeks, blood samples were taken from all participants to check for the presence of important proteins, osteocalcin and a peptide (PINP) that helps bones renew and stay young.

The samples showed key signs of bone turnover and increased vitamin K2 after six weeks in people who ate a daily serving of Jarlsberg cheese, while for those who ate camembert, PINP levels remained the same. same while other indicators of bone health decreased slightly.

However, levels of PINPs and chemical and biological indicators increased significantly after these participants switched to Jarlsberg.

Blood fats increased slightly in both groups, but cholesterol levels dropped significantly in people once they switched from camembert to jarlsberg.

The amount of glucose in red blood cells decreased by 3% in people who ate Jarlsberg, but increased by 2% in people who ate camembert. Once the Camembert group switched to Jarlsberg, glucose levels dropped again.

Calcium and magnesium levels dropped in the group that ate Jarlsberg but remained unchanged in the group that ate camembert.

After switching cheese, calcium levels also dropped in this group, possibly reflecting increased absorption of these key minerals in bone formation, the researchers said.

Bacteria in cheese also produce a substance called DNHA, which previous studies have shown may reduce bone thinning and increase bone tissue formation.

This could explain the increase in osteocalcin, according to the researchers.

Positive effects of Jarlsberg superfood

“Daily consumption of Jarlsberg cheese has a positive effect on osteocalcin, other markers of bone turnover, glycated hemoglobin and lipids,” the report states, concluding that the effects are quite specific to this cheese.

The results further suggest that Jarlsberg cheese may therefore help prevent osteopenia – the stage before osteoporosis – as well as metabolic diseases, such as diabetes, although more research is needed to confirm this.

“This study shows that while calcium and vitamin D are known to be extremely important for bone health, there are other key factors at play, such as vitamin K2, which may not be as well known. “said Professor Sumantra Ray, executive director of the NNEdPro Global Center for Nutrition and Health, which is co-owner of the BMJ journal Nutrition Prevention & Health in which the study was published.

“The different methods of preparation mean that there are key differences in the nutritional composition of cheese which has often been considered a homogeneous food in dietary research to date. This needs to be addressed in future studies.”

“As this is a small study in young, healthy people designed to explore new pathways linking diet and bone health, the results should be interpreted with great caution as participants in the “The study won’t necessarily be representative of other groups. And it shouldn’t be taken as a recommendation to eat any particular type of cheese,” Ray cautioned.

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