Deer antlers & osteoporosis

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What do deer antlers and osteoporosis have in common? Manganese.

New research out of Spain suggests that manganese deficiency may be the root cause of osteoporosis in humans. Manganese, a trace mineral responsible for activating a number of enzymatic reactions, is also required for the absorption of calcium into bone. When manganese levels are low, calcium is excreted in urine instead of absorbed into bone.

Researchers identified this connection from an unlikely source, broken deer antlers. An unusually cold winter in Spain 2005 depleted plant manganese stores and by association, deer nutritional status suffered. A subsequent increase in broken deer antlers lead researchers to speculate a possible connection. Analysis of those antlers revealed lower manganese levels associated with lower calcium and higher osteoporotic like antlers – more breakage. The research has yet to be confirmed in humans, but other studies have observed lower manganese in post-menopausal women with osteoporosis.

Dietary manganese can be found in dark leafy greens, berries and several grains like spelt and brown rice.

Chandler Marrs MS, MA, PhD spent the last dozen years in women’s health research with a focus on steroid neuroendocrinology and mental health. She has published and presented several articles on her findings. As a graduate student, she founded and directed the UNLV Maternal Health Lab, mentoring dozens of students while directing clinical and Internet-based research. Post graduate, she continued at UNLV as an adjunct faculty member, teaching advanced undergraduate psychopharmacology and health psychology (stress endocrinology). Dr. Marrs received her BA in philosophy from the University of Redlands; MS in Clinical Psychology from California Lutheran University; and, MA and PhD in Experimental Psychology/ Neuroendocrinology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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