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A Natural, Calcium-Rich Marine Multi-mineral Complex Preserves Bone Structure, Composition and Strength in an Ovariectomised Rat Model of Osteoporosis


Calcium supplements are used as an aid in the prevention of osteopenia and osteoporosis and also for the treatment of patients when used along with medication. Many of these supplements are calcium carbonate based. This study compared a calcium-rich, marine multi-mineral complex (Aquamin) to calcium carbonate in an ovariectomised rat model of osteoporosis in order to assess Aquamin’s efficacy in preventing the onset of bone loss. Animals were randomly assigned to either non-ovariectomy control (Control), ovariectomy (OVX) plus calcium carbonate, ovariectomy plus Aquamin or ovariectomy plus Aquamin delay where Aquamin treatment started 8 weeks post OVX. At the end of the 20-week study, the trabecular architecture was measured using micro computed tomography, bone composition was assessed using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and the mechanical properties were assessed using nanoindentation and three-point bend testing. The study demonstrates that oral ingestion of Aquamin results in less deterioration of trabecular bone structure, mineral composition and tissue level biomechanical properties in the tibia of rats following ovariectomy than calcium carbonate. This study has shown that in an animal model of osteoporosis, Aquamin is superior to calcium carbonate at slowing down the onset of bone loss.

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We thank Marigot Ltd (Cork, Ireland) as the source of the mineral-rich algae extract and for funding this study. We thank Mr. Peter O’Reilly, Senior Experimental Officer in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Trinity College Dublin for assistance with micro computed tomography, nanoindentation and three-point bend testing.

Author information




Orlaith Brennan, Denise O’Gorman and Fergal O’Brien were responsible for the study design. Orlaith Brennan prepared the first draft of the paper. Orlaith Brennan, Joseph Sweeney, Brian O’Meara, Amro Widaa, Franck Bonnier and Hugh Byrne all contributed to the experimental work. Orlaith Brennan and Joseph Sweeney were responsible for statistical analysis of the data. All authors revised the paper critically for intellectual content and approved the final version. All authors agree to be accountable for the work and to ensure that any questions relating to the accuracy and integrity of the paper are investigated and properly resolved.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Orlaith Brennan or Denise M. O’Gorman.

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Conflicts of interest

Dr. O’Gorman is an employee of Marigot Ltd. Prof O’Brien and Dr. Brennan have received funding from Marigot Ltd. to conduct research. Prof Byrne, Dr. Bonnier, Dr. Widaa, Mr. Sweeney and Mr. O’Meara have no disclosures.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

All applicable international, national and institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted.

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Brennan, O., Sweeney, J., O’Meara, B. et al. A Natural, Calcium-Rich Marine Multi-mineral Complex Preserves Bone Structure, Composition and Strength in an Ovariectomised Rat Model of Osteoporosis. Calcif Tissue Int 101, 445–455 (2017).

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  • Osteoporosis
  • Bone
  • Bone strength
  • Bone composition
  • Calcium
  • Animal model