A 3 year study has shown that, contrary to some evidence, bone mineral densityÂ may benefit from high protein diets, at least in older people. But the high potein diet must also meet the recommended dietary allowance for both calcium and vitamin D.
This study looked at 342 men and women older than 65 who did not normally consume high amounts of calcium and whoseÂ bone mineral density measurements were average for their age.
Half received daily supplements of 500 milligrams of calcium and 700 international units of vitamin D, and half received placebos.
At the study’s midpoint, the diets of all volunteers were assessed for levels of protein, calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients. The mean protein intake for all participants was found to be 79 grams per day.
Six tests administered at 6 month intervals showed that a high protein diet had favorable effects on bone density in the calcium supplemented group only.
While this suggests a synergy between protein and calcium that mitigates bone loss, more research is needed to confirm the finding.
Reference: Science Update, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, ARS.
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