Osteoporosis is a significant cause of pain and disability, particularly in women. Today the American Chemical Society announced findings that agave, the plant from which tequila is made, may help in the fight against osteoporosis.
Agave has been studied as an anti-cancer functional food that can also help prevent diabetes. The active ingredient is an inulin-type fructan, a non-digestible carbohydrate. Fructans are also found in artichokes, chicory, Jerusalem artichokes, onions and garlic. Unlike the fructose found in many fruits and in honey, fructans seem to assist the body in absorbing some nutrients, including calcium, magnesium and trace minerals.
Agave syrup has a sweet taste and can be used as a sugar substitute, although fructans can also have a neutral taste, depending on the source and chemical make up. Inulin-type fructans are classified as dietary fiber, and may also play a role in slightly lowering triglycerides and decreasing the risk of colon cancer.
Most studies so far have been done with animals, although data from human studies seems to back them up.
Osteoporosis is a multi-factorial health issue but the result can be hip fractures and vertebral compression fractures along with other broken bones. Hip fractures can increase risk of death, and vertebral compression fractures can cause serious spine problems along with severe chronic pain.
Vertebral fractures, if untreated, may cause pressure on the spinal cord or on spinal nerves, resulting in symptoms such as numbness, tingling, pain, weakness and trouble walking. They cause kyphosis, also known as dowager’s hump, and loss of height as well.
The best way to deal with osteoporosis is to avoid it. Weight bearing exercise, a healthy diet including adequate intake of calcium, vitamin D, and trace minerals are essential to prevention. Avoiding cigarettes and excessive alcohol intake also decrease your risk of osteoporosis. Protecting your bones and your spine is important. Hopefully agave will be another weapon in your arsenal to prevent osteoporosis.