Increased bone density has long been known to be a response to resistance training. Wolff’s law states that in a healthy person or animal, the bone will adapt to the load placed upon it. This adaptation is generally in the form of increased bone density in the areas of greatest load. Now a recently identified molecule produced by the skeletal muscle during exercise has been linked to increases in bone mass. The molecule Irisin is a communication pathway between skeletal muscle and the long bones of the body that adopt the most stress.
Researchers gathered young mice for their experiment and injected them with Irisin. The results showed that the young mice increased their cortical bone mass dramatically. The cortical bone mass is the most important for holding heavy loads and maintaining bone strength. The trabecular, spongy bone of the mice was not affected.
Implications of this new discovery are far reaching. Osteoporosis and sarcopenia are only two major diseases that can benefit from Irisin supplementation. Rehabilitation programs where casts, or crutches are used can be supplemented with Irisin to reduce bone atrophy. Space programs can introduce regular Irisin injections to reduce the atrophy marked by the weightlessness present in space. Limiting the physical force while observing the same changes in bone density has great benefit for those who have joint pain, or are post-surgery.
- The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine. (2015, September 14). Molecule made by muscle shown for first time to build bone.ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 31, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150914215608.htm