A small portion of Jarlsberg can help stop bones from weakening without boosting cholesterol, according to new findings.
Researchers say health benefits are unique to the Nordic dairy product and not found in other types of cheese.
Jarlsberg is a nutty, light and semi-soft cheese with holes in it made from cow’s milk.
It comes from a town of the same name in Eastern Norway.
The researchers hope that the cheese could stop osteoporosis in the future and help prevent diabetes, but they say that more research is needed.
Earlier research suggested that it increases levels of osteocalcin, a hormone that gives us strong bones and teeth.
It was not clear whether this link was specific to Jarlsberg cheese or whether it applied to all types of cheese.
To find out, the researchers studied 66 healthy women who were given a piece of 0.12 pounds of Jarlsberg (57 grams) or a 50-gram portion of Camembert cheese every day for six weeks.
All participants were healthy, of a healthy weight and had an average age of 33.
After that the group munching on Camembert was told to fight Jarlsberg for six weeks.
Both cheeses have similar levels of fat and protein but Jarlsberg is also rich in vitamin K2 while Camembert is not.
One form of vitamin K2 is found in animal products such as liver and another comes from bacteria and is found in fermented foods such as cheese.
Blood samples were taken from participants to check for important proteins, osteocalcin and peptide (PINP) – which help bones renew themselves and stay young.
Blood samples showed key signs of self-renewing bones and an increase in vitamin K2 after six weeks among people who ate Jarlsberg.
Among those who ate Camembert, PNP levels remained the same while levels for other indicators of bone health fell slightly.
PINP levels and chemical and biological indicators increased significantly after moving to Jarlsberg.
Blood fats increased slightly in both groups but cholesterol levels decreased in people when they switched from Camembert to Jarlsberg.
The amount of glucose in red blood cells fell by three percent among people who ate Jarlsberg but rose by two percent in people who ate Camembert.
When they moved to Jarlsberg the glucose levels dropped again.
Levels of calcium and magnesium which can weaken bones fell in people who ate Jarlsberg but there was no change in people who ate Camembert.
Bacteria in the cheese produce the substance DNHA that earlier studies suggested could reduce bone thinning and increase bone tissue formation. They say this could explain the rise in osteocalcin.
“Daily consumption of Jarlsberg cheese has a positive effect on osteocalcin, other markers of bone turnover, glycated hemoglobin, and lipids,” says author Dr. Helge Elnar Lundberg from Skjetten Medical Center in Norway, who was studied. published in the journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health.
Professor Sumatra Ray, Executive Director of the NNEdPro Global Center for Nutrition and Health which co-owns the journal, said, ”This study shows that although calcium and vitamin D are known to be extremely important for bone health, that there are other important factors. play like vitamin K2, which is perhaps not as well known.
“Different methods of preparation mean that there are key differences in the nutritional composition of cheese, which until now has often been viewed as a homogeneous food item in dietary research.”
He cautioned that this is a small study of young and healthy people (and) the results need to be interpreted with caution – not taken as a specific recommendation.
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