Eating more protein can help protect our bones.
As we age we all fear the damage that can be done by even a small accident or fall. They can easily lead to fractures, hip replacements, painful and inconvenient procedures we could all do without. Resistance training can help strengthen bones, but what you eat also has a big impact. Now an expert consensus finds that higher protein consumption benefits adult bone health.
Endorsed by the ESCEO and IOF, a review of the benefits and safety of dietary protein for bone health, based on analyses of major research studies and published in Osteoporosis International, found that in seniors with osteoporosis, dietary protein consumption above currently recommended levels may help to reduce bone loss and fracture risk, especially at the hip, if this is accompanied by adequate calcium intakes.
The key findings of the extensive literature review include:
• Hip fracture risk is modestly decreased with higher dietary protein intakes, provided calcium intakes are adequate
• Bone mineral density (BMD), a determinant of bone strength, appears to be positively associated with protein intakes;
• Protein + calcium combined in dairy products have beneficial effects on calciotropic hormones, bone turnover markers and BMD.
There appears to be no direct evidence of osteoporosis progression, fragility fractures or altered bone strength with the acid load originating from such a balanced diet. Amongst the elderly the common problem is not too much protein, but too little.
This is particularly important for seniors with osteoporosis, and individuals at risk of malnutrition due to acute or chronic illness, or recovering from an injury.
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