A shot of tequila could help you keep your bones healthy, according to new research.
Scientists found that substances from the tequila plant may help boost levels of calcium and magnesium, minerals that help keep your bones strong.
The study found that sugars from the tequila plant could even be used to treat osteoporosis, an agonising condition caused by the weakening of the bones.
Researchers found the blue variety of the Agave tequilana plant, which is used to make tequila, could help to keep the bones healthy.That’s because substances in the plant improve the absorption of calcium and magnesium in the body, which are essential minerals to help maintain bone health.
Dr Mercedes López, leader of the project from the Centre for Research and Advanced Studies in Mexico, said: ‘The consumption of fructans contained in the agave, in collaboration with adequate intestinal micriobiota, promotes the formation of new bone, even with the presence of osteoporosis.’
To investigate the effects of the tequila plant, the researchers conducted experiments with mice.The procedure consisted of removing the ovaries from female mice in order to induce osteoporosis.Researchers then fed the mice sugars from the tequila plant. Eight weeks later, bone samples were taken to measure the absorption of minerals and osteocalcin, a protein that indicates the production of new bone.
Dr López said: ‘It was found that mice that consumed this fructans [sugars] synthesized nearly 50 per cent more of such protein, in addition that the diametre of their bones was higher compared with the subjects which were not supplied with derivatives of the agave.’
The substances help boost calcium levels by travelling to the large intestine, where they interact with bacteria in the gut.Once in the large intestine, the agave sugars are able to ‘catch’ calcium and magnesium molecules and help transport them through the cells of the body.
‘This way, we have a second chance to take advantage of the nutrients that were no longer available to the body,’ Dr López said.
‘However, it is very important that people have a healthy intestinal microbiome, because only then it is possible that bacteria ferment fructans to transform them into fatty acids.’
The results provide the possibility of developing an alternative in the treatment of osteoporosis.The condition affects 200 million of people worldwide, according the International Osteoporosis Foundation.
Osteoporosis occurs when the body fails to replace old bone with new. As a result, the skeleton becomes porous and weak.Although it affects mostly women after the menopause, it can occur in younger women, and in men.One in three women and one in 12 men gets the disease at some time in their lives.
Because most people don’t realise they have it until they break a bone, it is often referred to as a ‘silent epidemic’. It results in 150,000 fractures a year. The researchers hope to perform clinical studies to prove that agave sugars can be used as a treatment.