Your body contains a huge gland that, under the right circumstances, produces a hormone that’s remarkably powerful at fighting the aging process.
This hormone helps your muscles stay stronger, keeps your brain more alert and nimble, shores up your bones and keeps your blood sugar under steady control.
But few people have heard of this hormone, and researchers over the years have mostly neglected it.
Why? Strange to say, they didn’t fully appreciate that the part of the body that secretes the hormone was, in fact, a gland. That’s all changed. Keep reading to learn more about this new discovery that may add years to your life.
The remarkable organ I’m talking about consists of your skeleton and your bones.
Studies now show that your bones make a hormone called osteocalcin that’s a fountain of youth for your mind and body. And researchers are looking at how to use this hormone as a treatment to slow down aging.
While they sort it out, you can get started now on natural ways to get your body to make more of this beneficial substance that keeps us young.
In most people, the body’s production of osteocalcin starts to slump pretty early in life – the decline in women starts in their thirties while men’s manufacture of the hormone hits a steep decline in their fifties.
The age-related falloff in osteocalcin, researchers believe, is one of the main reasons older people can’t match the physical or mental performance of their younger counterparts.
To test this idea, researchers at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York analyzed the interactions of osteocalcin with muscle function in both young and older animals. They got impressive results. They found that osteocalcin helps muscle cells use more glycogen (carbs stored in muscles) and burn more glucose delivered by the blood while utilizing fatty acids more efficiently to produce energy.
“Osteocalcin is not the only hormone responsible for adaptation to exercise in (animals) and humans,” says researcher Gerard Karsenty, M.D., Ph.D. “But,” he adds, “it is the only known bone-derived hormone that increases exercise capacity. This may be one way to treat age-related decline in muscle function in humans.”
The Columbia tests demonstrated that when older animals receive injections of osteocalcin, they can compete athletically with younger critters.
“The hormone is powerful enough to reconstitute, in older animals, the muscle function of young animals,” according to Prof. Karsenty.
Rejuvenates The Brain
Just as osteocalcin helps older muscles recover their youthful abilities, studies show it also helps old brains act younger too.
A study that involved researchers in Europe and Australia found that, among older women in their seventies, those with the highest levels of osteocalcin circulating in their blood possessed more reliable learning abilities along with memory and executive function (the mental skills that allow you to process information and make sound decisions).
Besides that, other lab research at Columbia shows that, in older animals, two months of receiving osteocalcin infusions improved brain functions like recall and learning. After the treatment, their memories rivaled that of younger animals.
Other rejuvenating benefits of osteocalcin include:
- Supports fertility in men: Osteocalcin increases testosterone production and helps generate healthier sperm.
- Lowers the risk of diabetes: This hormone promotes better pancreatic function, helps control blood sugar levels and defends against insulin resistance. Studies show that osteocalcin influences the entire body’s control of blood sugar.
How to Increase Your Osteocalcin
While researchers are busy designing clinical trials to identify the safety and precise effects of giving osteocalcin to people, there are several ways you can encourage your body to make more of this wonderful hormone.
The first is to engage in a consistent exercise program. Aerobic exercise should help – Research at the Medical College of Georgia shows that running or walking twenty minutes a day can increase the osteocalcin circulating in your blood. The researchers also found that standing on a vibrating platform for that amount of time also ups your osteocalcin. (If this sounds odd to you, there’s actually a well-established exercise machine that people use for this.)
Another method that may increase your osteocalcin levels is to eat more apples. A study in Asia found that a substance in apple peels increases bone formation and osteocalcin. Along the same lines, research in Spain shows that if you eat a Mediterranean diet – getting plenty of fruits and vegetables – and consume healthy helpings of olive oil, that may also lift your osteocalcin production.
As researchers have now discovered, your bones do more than merely support the structure of your body as you sit, walk or stand. They play a vital role in maintaining your vitality. Pay attention to diet and exercise and they will energize your anti-aging efforts.