While you probably know that maintaining strong bones can help you age gracefully by preserving your mobility over time, there is now reason to believe that upping your calcium and vitamin D intake could be a boon for your brain as well. According to a new study from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, scientists have found that a hormone produced by our bones may actually help with memory support too.

"The brain is commonly viewed as an organ that influences other organs and parts of the body, but less often as the recipient of signals coming from elsewhere, least of all, the bones," said lead author Dr. Gerard Karsenty, chair of the Department of Genetics and Development, in a press release.

The hormone in question, called osteocalcin, is released by osteoblasts – the cells that synthesize bone. The investigation was reportedly driven by previous research indicating that the brain can influence the rate of bone loss. Scientists therefore sought to determine if this communication went both ways.

The researchers found that osteocalcin can potentially make its way to the brain and spur the growth of neural cells, which may in turn help manage cognitive decline.

"As we age, bone mass decreases, and the production of osteocalcin probably does, too," said Karsenty. Based on this premise, he argued that strengthening your bones through diet and exercise may also help your brain.

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