Eating Jarlsberg cheese may help prevent bone thinning and prevent osteoporosis, research suggests.
Jarlsberg is a mild cheese made from cow’s milk, with regular holes which makes it classified as a Swiss cheese, although it comes from Norway. It is rich in vitamin K2, which has previously been shown to improve bone health.
The results of a study published in the journal BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health suggest that a daily serving may be beneficial for bone growth and regeneration.
Study participants were given a daily serving of either Jarlsberg or Camembert, which is low in vitamin K2. Signs of bone growth increased with Jarlsberg consumption and decreased slightly in the Camembert group, the authors said.
“This study shows that while calcium and vitamin D are known to be extremely important for bone health, there are other key factors at play, such as vitamin K2, which may not be as well known,” said Prof. Sumantra Ray of the NNEdPro. Global Center for Nutrition and Health in Cambridge.
However, experts have expressed doubts about the findings. The study included only 66 healthy, pre-menopausal women; their diet was not monitored during the study, meaning that other possible dietary influences could not be taken into account; and it was funded in part by Jarlsberg’s manufacturer, Tine.
“The reported effects are probably not specific to Jarlsberg cheese and may be similar in other hard, long-fermented cheeses,” said Tom Sanders, professor emeritus of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London.
dr. Simon Steenson, a food scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation, said: “Advising Jarlsberg cheese as a beneficial food for bone health should be weighed against existing dietary recommendations.”
More than 2 million women in England and Wales are believed to have osteoporosis, also known as brittle bone disease. It is linked to approximately 180,000 bone fractures per year.
Experts say bone health depends on adequate consumption of calcium and vitamin D, as well as vitamin K, which is also found in dark green vegetables such as kale.