Gouda cheese for your bones… but only if you eat Jarlsberg!

Research shows that eating cheese may be the key to keeping your bones healthy as you age.

But eating cheddar, mozzarella or Camembert is useless.

Instead, the cheeses appear to have originated from Jarlsberg, a mild, nutty-flavored cheese from Norway.

According to academics, eating just two slices a day is enough to prevent osteoporosis.

The disease gradually weakens the bones, making them brittle and prone to cracking in old age.

Eating Jarlsberg cheese (pictured) could be key to keeping your bones healthy as you age, research suggests


Various medications are used to treat osteoporosis.

Bisphosphonates slow the rate of bone loss. This maintains bone density and reduces the risk of bone fractures.

There are several different bisphosphonates, including:

  • alendronic acid
  • ibandronic acid
  • rhydronic acid
  • zoledronic acid

They are given in the form of tablets or injections.

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by loss of bone density and susceptibility to fractures. Normally, old bone tissue is broken down and replaced by new tissue.

Osteoporosis occurs when bone loss exceeds its replacement.

Bisphosphonates have been clinically proven to reduce the risk of fractures by increasing bone mass and mineral density, as well as filling the pits created by overactive bone cells.

The drugs bind to the surface of the bones and prevent the removal of the bone.

Because long-term treatment can sometimes have side effects, the doctor may recommend a break in treatment after three to five years.

Sixty-six women with an average age of thirty participated in the 12-week study.

They were asked to add 57g of Jarlsberg daily – the equivalent of two sandwiches – to their normal diet or 50g of Camembert for six weeks.

The cheeses were compared to each other because they had similar fat and protein content. Jarlsberg is rich in vitamin K2.

Blood samples were taken before and after the experiment, published in the British Medical Journal Nutrition Prevention and Health.

Volunteers from the Camembert group were also transferred to Jarlsberg to see how the cheese they ate affected their bodies after the first six weeks.

Levels of the hormone osteocalcin, which binds calcium to bones and gives them strength, were higher in the Jarlsberg group.

They also had significant amounts of vitamin K2, which experts claim is “important for bone health.”

No such effects were observed in the Camembert group.

However, when they moved on to eat Jarlsberg, the group both saw peaks level.

Surprisingly, levels of calcium and magnesium, known to be beneficial for bone health, decreased for those who ate Jarlsberg.

But academics at the Skjetten Medical Center in Norway said the drop only reflected an increase in participants consuming minerals among Jarlsberg.

“Daily consumption of Jarlsberg cheese has positive effects on osteocalcin and other markers of bone formation,” they said.

According to the researchers, the results show effects specific to Jarlsberg.

They confirmed findings showing that cheese helps prevent osteopenia in the pre-osteoporosis stage.

However, they stressed that further studies are needed to confirm this.

The researchers also did not measure changes in bone density or strength, meaning that increasing vitamin K2 may not actually reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Other experts cautioned that the study – partly funded by Jarlsberg producer TINE SA – should not be taken as a recommendation to eat a certain type of cheese.

Professor Sumantra Ray, a nutritionist at the University of Cambridge and co-author of the journal, said: “While calcium and vitamin D are known to be essential for bone health, there are other key factors, such as vitamin K2, which is perhaps less well known. does not.

The different methods of preparation mean that there are major differences in the nutritional content of cheese, which until now has been treated as a homogeneous food in dietary research. These should be addressed in future research.

“Since this small study in young and healthy people is designed to reveal new pathways linking diet and bone health, the results should be interpreted with caution because the study participants are not necessarily representative of other groups.

“And it shouldn’t be taken as a recommendation to eat a certain type of cheese.”

Dr Duane Mellor, Registered Dietitian at Aston University, said: “[The study] does not provide any evidence of real changes in bone density or strength because they take more than six weeks to show.

“The reference to changes in vitamin K is interesting because the Jarlsberg contains this nutrient while the control camembert does not.

“However, there are other sources of this vitamin in our diet, including dark green vegetables, including cabbage.

“Because the researchers asked participants to follow a normal diet, which naturally varies, and did not attempt to control for it, this may mean that their vitamin K intake may have varied at baseline and through the study.”

Osteoporosis is particularly common in postmenopausal women and affects 3m in the UK and 10m in the US.

Most people don’t diagnose it until they break a bone and are given bone strengthening pills.


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