Scientists from Skjetten Medical Center in Norway found that a small (57 g) daily portion of Jarlsberg cheese may help to stave off bone thinning (osteopenia/osteoporosis) without boosting harmful low-density cholesterol.
The research is published in BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health and was conducted by Helge Einar Lundberg et al.
Osteoporosis is a bone-thinning disease. It causes your bones to become thin and weak. They are at greater risk of breaking. A broken bone may happen even from falling from a standing position.
Osteocalcin is an important protein that is important for strong bones.
It also acts as a hormone to adjust insulin and glucose levels, increase testosterone, and improve muscle strength and cognitive function.
Jarlsberg is a mild cheese made from cow’s milk, with large, regular eyes, originating from Jarlsberg, Norway.
Daily intake of 57 g of Jarlsberg cheese has been shown to increase the osteocalcin in the body.
In the current study, the team aimed to examine if this is a general cheese effect or specific for Jarlsberg containing vitamin K2.
Vitamin K2 contributes to skin health and bone metabolism, promotes proper brain function, and prevents heart-related diseases.
Furthermore, vitamin K2 is important in the body’s use of calcium to help build bones and inhibit blood vessel calcification. Vitamin K2 is found in animal foods and preserved foods.
The researchers tested 66 healthy women who were asked to add either a daily 57 g portion of Jarlsberg (41) or 50 g of Camembert cheese (25) to their diet for 6 weeks.
At the end of this period, the group eating Camembert was switched to Jarlsberg for another six weeks.
Camembert is a moist, soft, creamy, surface-ripened cow’s milk cheese.
The team found osteocalcin and vitamin K2 increased strongly after 6 weeks in the Jarlsberg cheese group.
The variables decreased slightly in the Camembert cheese group but increased strongly after switching to Jarlsberg cheese.
The team also found blood cholesterol increased slightly in both groups. After the people switched to Jarlsberg cheese, their total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (‘bad’ cholesterol) were strongly reduced.
In addition, blood sugar level was strongly improved in the Jarlsberg cheese group, but unchanged in the Camembert cheese group.
After the people switched to Jarlsberg cheese, the people’s blood sugar decreased strongly.
Based on the findings, the researchers concluded that the effect of daily Jarlsberg intake on increased osteocalcin level is a specific effect only for this cheese.
Jarlsberg cheese contains vitamin K2 and DHNA, which increases osteocalcin and decreases blood sugar levels.
These benefits may help protect against bone thinning problems.
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