Bone health

Dietary calcium better than supplements for bone health


Calcium is renowned to be a key nutrient for bones. In this review, James H O’Keefe et al. determined the optimal dietary strategies and nutritional supplements for long-term skeletal and cardiovascular health. They emphasized that calcium is ideally obtained from dietary sources.

Dietary calcium versus supplement

The majority of calcium in the human body (1000 to 1200 g) is located in bones and teeth, mainly in the form of calcium-hydroxyapatite. In most countries, the amount of dietary calcium is below the recommended dietary allowance. This is unfavorable for bone and cardiovascular health. In their review, the authors pointed out that the calcium intake for optimizing cardiovascular longevity is about 1000 mg/day. They also discussed the role of calcium, regardless other characteristics of the diet, like proteins. On one hand, high protein diet with inadequate intake of calcium increases the risk of fractures. On the other hand, a diet with moderate amounts of fresh, lean, animal protein, when combined with adequate calcium intake, promotes bone strength and reduces fracture risk.

Previous research confirms that a diet, supplemented with mononutrient calcium, may not be ideal for improving bone health, and may increase the risk of arterial plaque growth and vascular calcification. Plant dietary calcium can positively influence the acid–base status and calcium metabolism of the body, but compared to animal sources, plant are relatively poor sources of calcium. The authors highlighted that among dairy source of calcium, fermented dairy is of particular interest as they has been linked to favourable outcomes for bone health and mortality risk.

The benefits of fermented dairy foods for bone health

The authors also discussed the difference between milk and fermented dairy food. They noted that d-galactose, which comes from the breakage of lactose, has been found to increase inflammation and oxidations in adult humans. They reported that cow’s milk, though rich in many nutrients, has issues that render it less than ideal as a dietary staple for many adults. On the contrary, fermented dairy foods, such as yogurt and cheese, appear to be safer than milk, possibly because most or all of the d-galactose has been metabolised by bacteria.

To learn more, read the original article.

Source : O’Keefe et al., Nutritional strategies for skeletal and cardiovascular health: hard bones, soft arteries, rather than vice versa, Open Heart 2016;3:

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