Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 156, Issue 1–3, pp 210–220 | Cite as

Preservation of Bone Structure and Function by Lithothamnion sp. Derived Minerals

  • Muhammad Nadeem Aslam
  • Ingrid Bergin
  • Karl Jepsen
  • Jaclynn M. Kreider
  • Kristin H. Graf
  • Madhav Naik
  • Steven A. Goldstein
  • James Varani


Progressive bone mineral loss and increasing bone fragility are hallmarks of osteoporosis. A combination of minerals isolated from the red marine algae, Lithothamnion sp. was examined for ability to inhibit bone mineral loss in female mice maintained on either a standard rodent chow (control) diet or a high-fat western diet (HFWD) for 5, 12, and 18 months. At each time point, femora were subjected to μ-CT analysis and biomechanical testing. A subset of caudal vertebrae was also analyzed. Following this, individual elements were assessed in bones. Serum levels of the 5b isoform of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) and procollagen type I propeptide (P1NP) were also measured. Trabecular bone loss occurred in both diets (evident as early as 5 months). Cortical bone increased through month 5 and then declined. Cortical bone loss was primarily in mice on the HFWD. Inclusion of the minerals in the diet reduced bone mineral loss in both diets and improved bone strength. Bone mineral density was also enhanced by these minerals. Of several cationic minerals known to be important to bone health, only strontium was significantly increased in bone tissue from animals fed the mineral diets, but the increase was large (5–10 fold). Serum levels of TRAP were consistently higher in mice receiving the minerals, but levels of P1NP were not. These data suggest that trace minerals derived from marine red algae may be used to prevent progressive bone mineral loss in conjunction with calcium. Mineral supplementation could find use as part of an osteoporosis-prevention strategy.


Bone Bone mineral density Bone mineral content Calcium Minerals Osteoporosis Red marine algae Strontium Trace elements 



American Institute of Nutrition 76A


Analysis of variance


Bone mineral density


Generally regarded as safe


High-fat western-style diet


Microcomputed tomography


N-terminal propeptide of type I procollagen


Tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (5b)







This study was supported in part by grant CA140760 from the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, and by grant 11-0577 from the Association for International Cancer Research, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland. The authors would like to thank Marigot, Ltd. (Cork, Ireland) for providing the multi-mineral-rich supplement (Aquamin®) as a gift.

Disclosure of Conflict

All authors state that they have no financial or personal conflict of interest (no disclosures).

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammad Nadeem Aslam
    • 1
  • Ingrid Bergin
    • 2
  • Karl Jepsen
    • 3
  • Jaclynn M. Kreider
    • 3
  • Kristin H. Graf
    • 3
  • Madhav Naik
    • 1
  • Steven A. Goldstein
    • 3
  • James Varani
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PathologyThe University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.The Unit for Laboratory Animal MedicineThe University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryThe University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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