Current Osteoporosis Reports

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 363–371 | Cite as

Prebiotic and Probiotic Regulation of Bone Health: Role of the Intestine and its Microbiome

  • Laura McCabeEmail author
  • Robert A. Britton
  • Narayanan Parameswaran
Skeletal Biology and Regulation (MR Forwood and A Robling, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Skeletal Biology and Regulation


Recent advances in our understanding of how the intestinal microbiome contributes to health and disease have generated great interest in developing strategies for modulating the abundance of microbes and/or their activity to improve overall human health and prevent pathologies such as osteoporosis. Bone is an organ that the gut has long been known to regulate through absorption of calcium, the key bone mineral. However, it is clear that modulation of the gut and its microbiome can affect bone density and strength in a variety of animal models (zebrafish, rodents, chicken) and humans. This is demonstrated in studies ablating the microbiome through antibiotic treatment or using germ-free mouse conditions as well as in studies modulating the microbiome activity and composition through prebiotic and/or probiotic treatment. This review will discuss recent developments in this new and exciting area.


Bone density Prebiotics Probiotics Microbiome Osteoblast Osteoclast 



The authors would like to acknowledge funding from NIH: NCCIH RO1AT007695 and NIDDK R01DK101050.

Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Dr. McCabe reports grants from BioGaia, during the conduct of the study; in addition, Dr. McCabe has a patent on the selection and use of lactic acid bacteria for bone health (United States Patent Application 20150150917 issued).

Dr. Britton reports grants from BioGaia, during the conduct of the study. In addition, Dr. Britton has a patent on the selection and use of lactic acid bacteria for bone health (United States Patent Application 20150150917).

Dr. Parameswaran has nothing to disclose.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura McCabe
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Robert A. Britton
    • 3
  • Narayanan Parameswaran
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology, Biomedical Imaging Research CenterMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Department of Radiology, Biomedical Imaging Research CenterMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  3. 3.Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Molecular Virology and MicrobiologyAlkek Center for Metagenomics and Microbiome ResearchHoustonUSA

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