Osteoporosis becomes an increasingly significant medical issue as we age. It is estimated by the Osteoporosis Foundation 45-50% of women over 50 years of age have vertebral osteopenia.
In women, such as during menopause, low levels of estrogen can lead to osteoporosis – literally “porous bones” caused by reduced bone mass, the mechanism of which Dr. John Glidea discusses in this podcast.
The steady state of bone composition is dependent on the balance of deposits by osteoblasts and withdrawals (via absorption) by osteoclasts. This bone remodeling is a continuous, dynamic process and is vital in maintaining bone size, shape, and integrity. When this bone homeostasis is disrupted, and there are more withdrawals of bone by osteoclasts than there are deposits, osteoporosis occurs.
In peer-reviewed 2016 paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, researchers found that sulforaphane promoted bone formation. In this study both normal mice and mice without ovaries (low estrogen) increased bone volume approximately 20%.
SFN flips "on" the switch in the process that leads to osteoblast creation and osteoclast reduction. More specifically, it promotes the expression of osteoblast markers and reduces the expression of osteoclast. This shifts the balance of bone remodeling in favor of bone formation.
Another paper from 2020 in Molecular Cancer Therapies, examined the impact of sulforaphane on osteolytic bone resorption. Researchers found that sulforaphane suppressed bone resorption that normally is seen with metastatic breast cancer induced osteolytic bone resorption.