LOS ANGELES, May 11 (UPI) -- Lower levels of a hormone produced by the ovaries is associated with a woman's risk for bone loss during menopause, according to a recent study.
Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles found testing levels of anti-mullerian hormone in women who are pre- or early-menopausal shows their likely rate for bone loss, suggesting early intervention may be possible to slow or prevent the condition.
Anti-mullerian hormone is produced by cells in the ovarian follicles and is a marker for ovarian health, which the new study linked to decline in bone density of the spine and femur, researchers said in a press release.
"Bone strength in older ages and the ability to avoid devastating hip and spine fractures depend equally on peak bone mass achieved in young adulthood and the amount of bone lost during and after the menopause transition," Dr. Arun Karlamangla, a professor at UCLA, said in a press release in April, when the study was presented at the Endocrine Society's 2016 annual conference.
For the study, which was published on the society's website ahead of the conference, researchers analyzed data for 474 women in the Study of Women's Health Across The Nation who were between 42 and 52 years old, in pre- or early-perimenopause, had an intact uterus with at least one ovary and were not taking supplemental hormones.
The researchers found that each fourfold decrease in anti-mullerian hormone was linked to a 0.15 percent faster decline in bone density of the spine and a 0.13 percent per year faster decline in density of the top of the femur, the femoral neck. The same decrease in the hormone was also linked to an 18 percent increase in odds of faster-than-average decline in bone density of the spine and 17 percent increase in odds for decline of the femoral neck.
The researchers suggest early intervention -- with treatments including increasing exercise or calcium and vitamin D intake -- could help stave off bone loss for women at higher risk during menopause.
"This study's findings open up the possibility of identifying the women who are going to lose the most bone mass during the transition and targeting them before they have lost a substantial amount of bone mass," Karlamangla said.