Review of Bio-Mer’s Ossomer Calcium Supplement

Posted on 31. Oct, 2012 by in Calcium

Ossomer: The New Zealand Marine Microcrystalline Hydroxyapatite Compound Enriching Calcium Supplementation Technology 


Ossomer is a newly launched marine-derived, natural ossein-MCHC microcrystalline hydroxyapatite compound based nutritional supplement. This product has resulted from a recent trend that focuses on utilising minerals and organic components found in fish bones. Several studies conducted over the years have proved that fish boned are rich sources of calcium; the high levels of free elemental calcium in fish bones can help in increasing bioavailability of calcium. Fish bones also contain high affinity phosphopeptides and peptides with great calcium binding ability and known for playing the role of ‘calcium fortifiers’.

The carbonate, peptides, magnesium, phosphate and potassium present in Ossomer are all naturally driven. Other than these minerals, Ossomer also contains added levels of calcitrol or vitamin D3, a vitamin that enables proper calcium absorption and metabolism.

It has been found that among many factors considered for determining the storage, utilisation, bioavailability of calcium in calcium supplements the one that is most important is the other dietary ingredients included in it (this factor is even more important than the calcium salt’s aqueous solubility).

According to studies, MCHC’s ability of accelerating the process of bone healing and formation is primarily because of the organic substances responsible for stimulating the osteoprogenitor and bone formation or osteogenesis.  Destruction of these organic substances may occur during bovine MCHC production and in the process MCHC’s ability of promoting osteogenesis can be lost.

A number of scientific investigation and clinical trials have been conducted for finding out the advantages offered by MCHC when used for treating or preventing calcium or bone disorders of different types.  All these studies and trials have shown that either MCHC improves the condition and associated symptoms significantly or triggers much better results compared to results experienced after consuming other calcium supplement formulations.

Ossomer’s sustainable and renewable marine source successfully overcomes pitfalls responsible for limiting extensive use of naturally-extracted bovine MCHC and other hydroxyapatite compounds. Ossomer has been sourced from fishes grown in the Antarctic and South Pacific fishing areas of New Zealand; these fishing areas are known for having pristine water free from all kinds of contaminants and pollutants. All MCHC formulations other than Ossomer get sourced from bones of old cows and as a result increase the possibilities of heavy metal contamination.  Those MCHC formulations may also cause transmission of different disease vectors such as prions, the principal causative agents of mad cow disease; prions can also cause vCJD or Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease in human beings.

Ossomer gets tested independently at regular intervals for purity and quality. Bio-mer, the manufacturing company of Ossomer, is a GMP certified company and also has of New Zealand Ministry of Health’s (Medsafe division) authorization for extracting and exporting APIs or active pharmaceutical ingredients for human use. Stringent licensing and auditing stand as the testimony of the fact that at Bio-mer, highest standards are always met while manufacturing products.

Scientific and Clinical Testing of MCHC

A number of tests have been conducted for determining the effects of MCHC on various patient groups and also for finding out how MCHC manages different health disorders caused by abnormal calcium metabolism.

Through these tests, it has been proved that hydroxyapatite compounds have the following abilities:

  • Prevention of fractures and osteoporosis
  • Bone healing following a fracture and prevention of bone loss
  • Treating back ache triggered by osteoporosis
  • Treating secondary and primary osteoporosis (MCHC can treat secondary and primary osteoporosis with greater efficiency than calcium carbonate)
  • Treating osteogenesis imperfecta (MCHC can treat secondary and primary osteoporosis with greater efficiency than calcium gluconate)

Some other conditions that hydroxyapatite compounds can treat and prevent effectively include:

  • Osteoporosis linked with hepatitis
  • Osteoporosis caused by corticosteroid therapy
  • Juvenile idiopathic osteoporosis
  • Osteoporosis linked with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoporosis linked with primary billary cirrhosis
  • Hypophosphataemic osteomalacia
  • Bone loss after oophorectomy

Clinical trials conducted for finding out the effects of hydroxyapatite compounds got corroborated by several strong and useful scientific evidences. Studies have revealed that MCHC when consumed orally increases the extent and rate of bone healing; on the other hand, when implanted it increases the bone formation rate significantly (MCHC does both these job more efficiently than calcium carbonate).

MCHC is also unique for being the sole supplement existing today with the ability of encouraging bone formation at molecular levels in vitro. A bone-cell culture conducted recently showed that MCHC promoted formation of collagen and DNA, both of which are principal markers of the bone formation procedure or osteogenesis. Studies have also revealed that MCHC induces segregation of the bone stem cells into cartilage and bone.

Comparing Ossomer Indications with That of Other Calcium Supplement Formulations

Ossomer is extracted naturally from a mineral found in fish bones, lattice; as a result, it contains several other beneficial constituents and nutrients. Microcrystalline hydroxyapatite (the compound is also widely referred to as hydroxyapatite) is the main calcium salt present in Ossomer; the chemical formula of the salt is Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2. By mass, Ossomer is 25 percent (23 to 28 percent) elemental calcium; this means the compound has less calcium than calcium carbonate and more calcium than calcium citrate, calcium lactate and calcium gluconate formulations. The factor that makes Ossomer more effective than all the above mentioned formulations is the ingredients it carries other than calcium.

Ossomer naturally possesses calcium and phosphate in a ratio of 2:1. The other calcium supplements available on the market offer only calcium and does not contain phosphate in any form. Calcium without phosphate is not the best option when used for sustained calcium supplementation. Calcium and phosphate stays in equilibrium on the serum in between two free ions; they are bound as calcium phosphate compound [3Ca2++2PO43↔Ca3(PO4)2].

Ossomer contains carbonate, potassium and magnesium in natural proportions. These components are linked intrinsically to physiological actions of phosphate and calcium. Metabolism of carbonate, potassium and magnesium is linked frequently via certain hormonal signals. Potassium bicarbonate when administered orally is known for helping in improving the balance of phosphate and calcium, increasing bone formation and reducing bone resorption in postmenopausal women.

Magnesium is required for carrying our cellular functions properly and it also acts as metallo-coenzymes in more than 300 reactions involving cellular phosphate-transfer. Like calcium, a drop in magnesium serum levels increases PTH production. Inadequate secretion of PTH and vitamin D3 marks magnesium deficiency, which eventually leads to conditions like hypocalcaemia and osteoporosis.

Ossomer approximately contains 10 to 12 percent collagen and 28 percent protein. A number of recent studies have revealed that significant improvement has occurred in bioavailability of the mineral calcium. Studies have also revealed benefits offered by calcium chelates when consumed along with amino acids or proteins.  Calcium when present in a large amount in serum is known for being bound to the proteins; this in turn acts as a protective factor for free calcium by preventing its undesired excretion. The next most important factor you must consider is that up to 50 percent of our bone mass is consisted of protein.

Studies have shown than an increase in protein consumption helps in accelerating the process of fracture recovery and also fights bone loss triggered by the natural ageing process; however, for that calcium levels in the body must be sufficient. Fish bones are also sources of some exclusive peptides with high affinity toward calcium. It has been proven scientifically that these peptides results in increase in retention and bioavailability of calcium. These peptides have also successfully improved bone strength and bone mineral density in animal models of osteoporosis.

Ossomer even contains vitamin D, to be more precise vitamin D3 or calcitriol. This vitamin is extremely important for ensuring that active calcium absorption occurs flawlessly in small intestine. This is because biosynthesis of calbindin D9k, a calcium transporter is absolutely dependant on vitamin D3.

What Makes Ossomer Special? 

The MCHC present in Bio-mer’s calcium supplement Ossomer is derived from fishes grown in the extensive waters of New Zealand. This pristine source ensures that the users would be at much lower risk of being affected by contaminants, toxins and heavy metals than what they stay at while using bovine products. The most common fish bone used for making Ossomer is Ling (the indigenous Maori call them rari, hokarari and hoka). Ling is found at water levels ranging between 300 and 700 meters. Ling grown in New Zealand is a different fish than the European Lin you may have heard about. They are usually 80 to 120 cm (3 to 4 feet) long and mostly weigh between 5 and 20 kilograms (10 and 40 lbs).

Medical science has acknowledged fish bones as rich sources of calcium; this is primarily because fish bones contain high levels of free elemental calcium and possess the ability of augmenting bioavailability of the mineral. In addition to that, fish bones contain some unique high-affinity phosphopeptides and peptides with calcium binding abilities and ability of playing the role of calcium fortifiers.

Bovine bone products although available widely are known for their ugly history of having infectious vectors. Previous epidemics affecting cattle, for instance mad cow disease have also been found to be transmissible to the human beings. Mad cow disease can make human beings suffer from severe neurological symptoms. It can cause a fatal neurological condition called vCJD or Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease in human beings.

Prions can be defined as infectious proteins. The most common thing done for avoiding presence of prions in a bovine extract is heating the product up to an extreme temperature (140°C or 284°F); this procedure however damages and denatures the proteins. Heating of the bovine extracts does not allow the MCHC supplement to keep its quality intact. This is because when heated all organic materials present in the bones get destroyed. These organic materials are the main ingredients required for promoting formation of new bones.

This issue was aptly highlighted by a study carried out by Annefeld et al. During the study, out of three groups, the 1st group was treated with bovine MCHC, the 2nd group was treated with Bovine MCHC burnt to ash (this was done for removing all the organic constituents of the product) and the 3rd group was treated with calcium carbonated. It was found that only the group treated with non-heated, natural MCHC experienced significant improvement in the quality and pattern of bone healing (especially when assessed after 8 or 12 weeks of incurring the fracture).

Ossomer gets tested independently biochemically for quality and presence of impurities like heavy metals by means of a method called mass spectroscopy; the company conducts these tests at regular intervals. Bio-mer, the manufacturing company of Ossomer, is a GMP certified company and also has of New Zealand Ministry of Health’s (Medsafe division) authorization for extracting and exporting APIs or active pharmaceutical ingredients for human use. Stringent licensing and auditing stand as the testimony of the fact that at Bio-mer, highest standards are always met while manufacturing products.

Comparative Utilisation and Bioavailability of MCHC

A journal article written by Henry et all informed the world how important it is to consume synergistic dietary constituents for enabling proper absorption and use of calcium. The study revealed that bioavailability and solubility of different calcium slats are very weakly correlated to each other. The factor that influenced variation in calcium absorption more significantly is the food components.

The study showed that when derived only from synthetic MCHC, free calcium’s fractional absorption was 0.166. Yet, when MCHC was derived naturally from bones (as a result, had all other constituents of bone), free calcium’s fractional absorption was found to be 0.271, which makes it comparable to milk’s calcium absorption (0.267±0.0250) and better than that of calcium citrate and calcium carbonate (under similar conditions). Calcium in spinach, on the other hand, was boasts significantly low fractional absorption when compared to that of calcium oxalate, calcium salt. However, most experts believe and several studies have also proved that the calcium found in spinach cannot be absorbed easily primarily because calcium oxalate’s low aqueous solubility.

The above discussion clearly shows that other dietary substances we consume along with calcium salts significantly influence calcium’s utilisation and bioavailability. Scientifically this situation is known as the ‘meal effect’. Naturally derived MCHC even when taken alone triggers an impressive increase in fractional absorption of calcium. This makes it more effective than other calcium supplements available on the market. For instance, if you are taking a calcium carbonate supplement, you will be asked to have it along with a small meal; this is done for enabling production of stomach acid and improving bioavailability. However, there are several demerits of consuming calcium supplements along a regular meal. Calcium tends to compete with zinc and iron present in the meal for uptake; this in turn will reduce bioavailability of both these minerals. If the food you are taking along with the calcium carbonate supplement is rich in fibre and lipid, it may even reduce calcium’s uptake.

The sole study, which has compared metabolic effects and bioavailability of different calcium supplements found on the market, revealed that the MCHC compounds showed the best results. This was a controlled, randomized study carried out by Deroisy et al. In the study, PTH (parathyroid hormone) and free serum calcium were compared with each other. During the study, the participants received a specific dosage of oral supplement. The comparison was done several times during a period of 6 hours. The supplements that were investigated during the study were: calcium citrate, calcium carbonate and gluconolactate, calcium carbonate, carbonate and calcium pidolate, a MCHC compound and one control vehicle. The dose administered was common for each of the above mentioned supplements i.e. 500 mg elemental calcium; only the control vehicle didn’t have any calcium in it.

Every calcium supplement used during the study increased free calcium serum levels significantly from their baseline levels. The increase caused by all these supplements was considerably higher than that of the control vehicle. It must be noted that the increase in free serum calcium levels caused by the MCHC compound was equivalent to that of all other supplements; however, the largest portion of absorbed calcium was most probably in intact and bound forms like bisglycinocalcium and calcium chelates of other types.

Although, no significant statistical difference was noticed in bioavailability of free calcium when the supplements were compared with each other after administration of a single dose, the MCHC compound showcased remarkably less instant suppression of the levels of serum PTH. However during the 6 hours i.e. the time through which the test was conducted, the researchers observed a constant suppression. When the suppression was again measured after 6 hours, it was found that all supplements caused equal suppression.

The similar free calcium bioavailability and comparatively less instant PTH suppression of the MCHC compound prove that a much larger quantity of calcium gets carried into the serum in a bound form (the calcium-sensors located on our parathyroid cells are only capable of sensing the serum’s free calcium levels). Medical experts state that mild PTH suppression is a much better option compared to drastic decrease in the PTH levels.

PTH meticulously improves active re-absorption of minerals such as magnesium and calcium in our kidneys’ distal tubules (this effectively treats magnesium and calcium loss through urine). PTH also augment’s our gastrointestinal tract’s ability of absorbing more calcium (augments active vitamin D3’s enzymatic production). You will need to put in some effort for understand the effects of parathyroid hormone on our bones; PTH’s effects on our bones are both catabolic and anabolic. However, still we need PTH for resorption and formation of bones (it is the sole drug to be approved by FDA for treating osteoporosis and stimulating bone formation).



No comments.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.