Yogurt Builds Better Bones

Yogurt in a yellow bowl with some on a silver spoon.
A spoonful of yogurt for helping to build better bones. Copyright: sebra / 123RF Stock Photo
  • Consuming yoghurt appears to reduce your risk of osteoporosis especially in older men and women.

A study in Ireland has found that older men and women consuming yoghurt have a better bone mineral density (BMD) and a reduced risk of osteoporosis. The actual figures from the research show some statistical significance. In women, the BMD increases between 3.0 and 3.9 %. In men, the biomarker for breakdown of bone was 9.5% lower. All these improvements are linked to consumption of more yoghurt with indicators of reduced bone turnover.

The study was conducted by St James’s Hospital and Trinity College in Dublin along with collaborators in Nutrition at Ulster University. This study was a very large observational assessment of 1,057 women and 763 men on dairy intake and the measurement of both bone and frailty.

“Yoghurt is a rich source of different bone promoting nutrients and thus our findings in some ways are not surprising,” claimed Eamon Laird from Trinity College, Dublin in Ireland.

Osteoporosis is one of the most severe chronic conditions of the elderly because loss of calcium and bone mineral density leads to a reduction in bone strength leading to a preponderance of fractures and raised morbidity. Consumption of dairy products with high levels of minerals such as calcium and magnesium have long been associated good bone health (Heaney, 2009) and recently the link to yogurt consumption started being made (Sahni et al., 2013).

The study, actually the largest of its kind looked at a number of other factors of bone health including daily intakes of other dairy products, meat, fish, physical exercise, use of calcium and vitamin D supplements, smoking and alcohol and other traditional risk factors.

Participants yogurt consumption was obtained from questionnaires. The categories for feeding were no yoghurt at all, 2 or 3 times a week or more than one serving a day.

When all these factors were considered and adjusted for every unit increase in yogurt intake there was a 31% lower risk of osteopenia and a 39% lower risk of osteoporosis for women. The effect for men was even more dramatic with a 52% lower risk of osteoporosis. Vitamin D supplementation is highly beneficial too as identified in the research.

“The data suggest that improving yogurt intakes could be a strategy for maintaining bone health but it needs verification through future research as it is observational,” according to the lead researcher.

Reference

Heaney, R.P. (2009) Dairy and bone health. J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 28(Sup 1) pp. 82–90

Laird, E., Molloy, A.M., McNulty, H. et al.(2017) Osteoporos. Int.  doi:10.1007/s00198-017-4049-5

Sahni, S., Tucker, K.L., Kiel, D.P., Quach, L., Casey, V.A., Hannan, M.T. (2013) Milk and yogurt consumption are linked with higher bone mineral density but not with hip fracture: the Framingham Offspring Study. Arch. Osteoporos. 8(1–2) pp. 1–9

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