What is it in bone that causes it to regenerate? Bone Morphogenetic Proteins. This is a major breakthrough in healing. It has clinical indications for osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteopenia, and broken/fractured bones. BMP’s work at the cellular level where they become a chrondrocyte (produce cartilage) or osteocyte (produce a bone tissue). They cause a complex set of reactions and anti-inflammatory properties that cause healing at a very quick rate as seen in the first week symptomatically. Oral supplementation with BMP’s has been shown to have a direct effect on bone metabolism with no cases of adverse effects.

The number of joints affected, body weight, severity of condition, and family history are important factors in determining an effective dose. For osteopenia and osteoporosis, it is important to look at rate of decline in bone loss to determine appropriate dose. In addition to dexa scans, I use a Bone Resorption Assay, which measures the deoxypyridinoline fragment of Type I collagen breakdown from a single urine specimen. This is the fragment that contains the cross-linking point and has been demonstrated to be very specific to bone resorption. This detects biochemical markers which reflect present remodeling activity. The relatively low cost of this test makes it a cost-effective tool to routinely monitor bone resorption rates and the effectiveness of therapy.

When taking BMP’s, it is recommended to start at a loaded dose and titrate down. Bone loss during aging and in post-menopausal women results from an imbalance between bone formation and resorption. Loss of bone strength and an increased number of bone fractures in patients with osteoporosis may be associated with a decreased capacity for bone regeneration, which is related to the lower content of BMPs and growth factors in the bone’s matrix. Since BMP’s are considered a bone anabolic agent, it can play an integral role in helping to decrease the progression and symptoms of osteoporosis.

A current case study on a 59-year old female patient with severe osteoporosis showed that BMPs reversed and improved bone mineral density back to normal over a 3 year period.

The early effects of bone morphogenetic proteins are its immunoprotective properties by exhibiting antagonist activity towards key pro-inflammatory cytokines (such as IL-1 and IL-6) and transcription factors, all of which are responsible for inflammation. BMPs work to suppress major inflammatory cytokines, leading to the restoration of joint and cartilage homeostasis. In a clinical trial these osteoinductive proteins have been reported to yield significant improvement in the reduction of joint pain and frequency of pain with an increase in activity level and joint strength in those with osteoarthritis.

Recently there are approximately one thousand research papers a year published on BMP’s. For more information, contact Dr. Jurgelewicz for a consultation.

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