Researchers from the University of British Columbia have discovered that certain compound derived from the traditional Chinese herb, red sage, can possibly treat Bone Loss in patients with Osteoporosis.

Their findings, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, showed that the compound known as Tanshinone IIA sulfonic sodium (T06) has the ability to selectively inhibit Cathepsin K (CatK), an enzyme that plays a significant role in the degradation of bone collagen during osteoporosis.

Red sage can prevent bone loss without any side effects

Common osteoporosis drugs completely inhibit the activity of CatK. However, the researchers noted that CatK is a multifunctional enzyme that plays a crucial role in other parts of the body.

Due to this, completely blocking CatK can result to a wide-range of side effects, including stroke, cardiovascular diseases and skin fibrosis.

For the study, the researchers tested the T06 in human and mouse bone cells and a mouse model. The compound derived from the red sage not only prevented bone loss but also increased the bone mineral density of the mouse model by 35 percent.

As opposed to other osteoporosis drugs being developed by pharmaceutical companies, T06 can selectively inhibit some activities of CatK. The compound only blocks the collagen-degrading activity of the enzyme while allowing its normal functions. This means T06 can prevent the unregulated breakdown of collagen without any other adverse outcomes.

Red sage, or also known as Danshen in China, can also be used as a potential treatment for other bone and cartilage diseases, including arthritis and bone cancer.

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Osteoporosis is a global health problem

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, which could lead to bone fragility and a higher risk of fracture in the hip, spine and wrists. It is considered to be a global health problem that affects about one in three women and one out of five men worldwide. In the United States alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are over 53 million people either already suffering from osteoporosis or are at a high risk due to low bone mass.

Osteoporosis can easily be prevented and treated. Taking adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D can help maintain bone mass. Calcium is known to be vital for the bones, while vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium. Controlling or complete avoidance of alcohol and smoking can also assist in preventing osteoporosis.