Nutrition Do High Protein Diets Affect Our Bone Health?

bone health

High-protein diets can result in greater overall bone mass

Our bone health should be very important to all of us. However, there are many things contributing to bone composition and overall bone health that we should all keep a close eye on. With estimates as high as 50 million, Americans are facing a serious issue in regard to bone density and osteoporosis, as recognized by the National Osteoporosis Foundation.[1]

So, what are the risk factors, and are high protein diets furthering these conditions?

Protein itself is responsible for about 50% of our bone’s volume.[2]

While many may believe that this vital macronutrient is responsible for the loss on bone density, we could argue that it’s actually both helpful as well as taxing on bone density. However, there are many variables to consider. These variables can include calcium intake, amount of protein consumed, the sources of protein consumed, and even the acid/base balance in our diets.

For many, high protein diets such as the typical American eating pattern have an effect on calcium homeostasis. This would result in an increased calcium excretion; however research findings shown to fall both ways. One study on 191 nuns who were studied over 20 years had found that a protein intake which ranges from 0.41 to 1.96 g/kg had zero effect on the participants calcium absorption efficiency. However, in a different 12-week study on 100 overweight and obese individuals, there were no differences found in serum levels of osteocalcin, which is an indicator of bone turnover, after the 12 weeks on both a high-protein (99 g/d) or high-carbohydrate diet (55.5 g of protein/d).

Despite the beliefs of many, a high-protein diet can actually result in greater overall bone mass. And also fewer bone-related injuries when you consume the appropriate amounts of calcium. Studies have secured these findings. There are lots of suggestions about making increased protein and calcium intake to bone injury patients, especially elderly patients.
[1] Figure 2f from: Irimia R, Gottschling M (2016) Taxonomic revision of Rochefortia Sw. (Ehretiaceae, Boraginales). Biodiversity Data Journal 4: E7720. (n.d.). doi:10.3897/bdj.4.e7720.figure2f [2] Heaney RP, Layman DK. Amount and type of protein influences bone health. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2008;87(5).
Body By Boehler

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