Bone health

Dairy products, yogurts, and bone health in later life


At all ages, calcium and protein play a key role in bone health, with particular emphasis on bone growth during childhood and adolescence, as well as the preservation of bone strength and prevention of osteoporosis in the elderly.

Milk and dairy products like yogurt are an optimal source of calcium and other nutrients (e.g. protein, potassium, magnesium, vitamin D, etc.) and have an important effect on bone health. A significant positive association between dairy food intake and bone turnover markers BMC and BMD has been shown in clinical studies.

Fortified dairy products also induce more favourable changes in biochemical indices of bone metabolism than calcium supplements alone. The associations between the consumption of dairy products and the risk of hip fracture are less well established, although yogurt intake does show a weak yet positive protective trend for hip fracture.

By increasing dairy food intake to the recommended 3–4 servings/d, a good bone health may be readily achieved and osteoporosis-related health care costs could be reduced by at least 20% in the United States, translating to savings of $3.5 billion/y.

Source: Rizzoli R. Am J Clin Nutr 2014 ; 99(5) : 1256S-1262S.

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