Study reveals eating Jarlsberg cheese could help prevent osteoporosis

  • 04/08/2022
Cheese stock image
Jarlsberg cheese could be the key to keeping bones healthy in old age. Photo credit: Getty Images

A new study has found that eating Jarlsberg cheese may be the key to healthy bones in old age.

Research published in the British Medical Journal's Nutrition Prevention and Health revealed eating two slices a day of Jarlsberg, a mild and nutty-flavoured cheese, could help prevent osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens the bones and makes them more likely to snap in old age.

Sixty-six women, all in their 30s, took part in a study where they added either two sandwich slices of Jarlsberg into their diet or 50g of camembert for six weeks.

Both kinds of cheese have similar fat and protein profiles, but Jarlsberg is rich in vitamin K2.

Those who ate the camembert first were asked to switch to eating Jarlsberg after the first six weeks to see if changing the type of cheese affected their bodies.

Blood samples were taken from the women before and after the 12-week study. The samples which were taken after the study found that levels of osteocalcin, the hormone responsible for binding calcium to bones, were higher in the people who ate the Jarlsberg cheese. The participants also had significantly higher levels of vitamin K2, which experts said was "important for bone health".

None of these effects had shown up in the group who ate camembert.

Surprisingly, calcium and magnesium - which are both known to be beneficial for bone health - fell for those eating Jarlsberg, the study 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 is perhaps not as well known," said Professor Sumantra Ray, a nutritionist at the University of Cambridge.

Prof Sumantra also added that the study involved young and healthy people and that the results of the study will not necessarily be representative of other groups.