Researchers look at whether probiotics can slow osteoporosis in early menopause

Bone health researchers at ACU have teamed up with US scientists to investigate the impact of a targeted probiotic formulation on bone, muscle, and glucose metabolism in early menopause.

Professor Mattias Lorentzon from the Bone Health and Fractures Research Program at the Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research will lead the study to investigate if Pendulum Therapeutic’s targeted formulation of probiotic strains and prebiotic fibre can slow or stop bone thinning in early postmenopausal women.

The results could be life-changing for one in three women over the age of 50 worldwide impacted by the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis.

With an economic cost of related fractures estimated to be more than $130 billion by 2050, research to improve age-related decline in bone health is crucial.

The connection between the gut microbiome and bone health is an emerging area of research. Microbiome research has rapidly expanded in the last decade – leading to the discovery of how keystone bacterial strains and their function in the gut impact overall health.

“Research indicates that the gut microbiome, specifically butyrate-producing bacterial strains, may play an important role in bone health,” Professor Lorentzon said.

“The OsteoPreP study was designed based on the knowledge that targeted probiotic strains can increase production of short chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, influencing not only healthy bones, but overall metabolic health, including muscle mass and weight, as we age.

“When we saw published data showing that Pendulum’s formulation increased butyrate in a clinical trial, we were excited to team up with their scientists on this project.”

Professor Lorentzon said while primarily a bone health study, investigators will also look at outcomes related to memory, muscle and fat mass, blood sugar, mental health, and general wellbeing.

Recent research has linked the gut microbiome to cognitive, muscle and cardiometabolic function. Such studies indicate that probiotics (healthy gut bacteria) or prebiotics (food for healthy bacteria such as fibre) can increase the amount of short chain fatty acids produced by the gut bacteria which may contribute to the broader beneficial effects of improved gut health.

Pendulum Glucose Control, the probiotic formulation used in OsteoPreP was previously shown in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to significantly improve post-meal glucose spikes in people with type 2 diabetes taking metformin.

“If the results of the study show what we anticipate, it is entirely possible that we may be able to avoid osteoporosis in high-risk populations by targeting the microbiome,” Dr Orville Kolterman, Pendulum Therapeutics chief medical officer, said.

“Pendulum is leading the way in microbiome research and technology, bringing these novel solutions to the market. Strong research collaborations, like the clinical trial with ACU, will substantiate that the microbiome is the next frontier in human health.”

Find out more about the OsteoPreP Study

Media Contact: Elisabeth Tarica, Australian Catholic University on 0418 756 941 or


Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs