New Study Reports that Jarlsberg Cheese May Help Prevent Osteoporosis

Our doctors are always telling us to make sure we get enough calcium to maintain strong bones and teeth. Cheese is one of those foods that is high in calcium, a mineral that depletes with age. And another reason that our healthcare practitioners recommend calcium supplements. For those that love cheese and are not lactose intolerant, a new study shows promise for bone health.

Daily intake of 57 g Jarlsberg cheese has been shown to increase the total serum osteocalcin (tOC). Is this a general cheese effect or specific for Jarlsberg containing vitamin K2 and 1,4-dihydroxy-2naphtoic acid. The results of a small comparative clinical trial, were published in the open access journal BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health.

A mild and semi-soft cheese with a nutty flavor and regular holes, Jarlsberg is prepared from cow’s milk. It comes from the Jarlsberg region of eastern Norway.

Previous studies suggest that it may help increase levels of osteocalcin, a hormone linked to healthy bones and teeth, although it is unclear whether this benefit is exclusive to Jarlsberg or any form of cheese.

A mild and semi-soft cheese with a nutty flavor and regular holes, Jarlsberg is prepared from cow’s milk. It comes from the Jarlsberg region of eastern Norway.

The study reports, to our knowledge, no human controlled clinical trials have yet been conducted to examine the impact of cheese consumption on bone health, despite the fact that cheese has been linked to vitamin K2-related health benefits. Jarlsberg seems to be a promising choice for such experiments due to its high vitamin K2 level.


Healthy Norwegian women in their premenopausal years made up the study’s healthy volunteer (HV) population. Women who were expecting, those with known gastrointestinal disorders, abnormal liver or kidney function, lactose intolerance or a known allergy to milk products, those with diabetes mellitus, and those with confirmed malignancy were excluded. Women who had received systemic corticosteroid or immunosuppressive medication during the previous three weeks or who had taken part in another clinical trial within the previous six weeks prior to the study’s start date were excluded.

“Serum lipids increased slightly in both groups. Switching to Jarlsberg, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol were significantly reduced (p≤0.05). Glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), Ca++ and Mg++ were significantly reduced in the J-group, but unchanged in the C-group. Switching to Jarlsberg, HbA1c and Ca++ decreased significantly.”

Citations in this study: Einar Lundberg1, Morten Glasø2, Rahul Chhura3, Arjun Andre Shukla1, Torunn Austlid2, Zohaib Sarwar1, Kathrine Hovland2, Sapna Iqbal2, Hans Erik Fagertun4, Helge Holo5 and Stig Einride Larsen6,7 Correspondence to Dr Helge Einar Lundberg, Skjetten Medical Center, Skjetten, Norway;

The study concluded that Jarlsberg cheese might aid in the prevention of osteopenia  which is the stage just before osteoporosis and other metabolic illnesses like diabetes. The study was not 100 percent conclusive and more research is necessary to validate this.

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