A study recently published in the journal Osteoporosis International presents data that indicates drinking tomato juice can help to improve certain markers of osteoporosis.

I hate to be a party pooper, and maybe I look at things too literally, but nothing in this study says that tomato juice can help prevent osteoporosis.

However, the headlines are blaring across the Internet stating, “Tomato Juice Helps Prevent Osteoporosis.” The conclusion of the researchers states,”Our finding suggests that the antioxidant lycopene is beneficial in reducing oxidative stress parameters and the bone resorption marker NTx.”

Subjects who were given tomato juice and lycopene supplements showed improved serum lycopene, total antioxidant capacity, lipid, and protein oxidation over the subjects who were given a placebo. While these improved “parameters” are obviously a good thing, it is important to note the study doesn’t say that these improvements put subjects into the “non-osteoporosis zone.”

After reading the study it appears that you could supplement with lycopene and drink tomato juice and increase your osteoporosis “numbers,” but still be just as at risk because the numbers could still be in the “bad” range.

Actually, according to studies the exact causal effect these parameters have on the development of osteoporosis hasn’t been totally determined. Without providing context for these numbers, it cannot be said that lycopene can prevent osteoporosis. I’m not just picking nits.

It’s important to understand that improvement in these numbers can be relative and doesn’t tell the whole story. Lycopene supplementation alone is not enough to prevent osteoporosis. The only non-medical/non-dietary intervention known to decrease the risk of osteoporosis is exercise. Exercise and supplement with tomato juice to give yourself the best chance to decrease the risk of suffering from osteoporosis.

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