The Role of Dairy in Maintaining Adult Bone and Skeletal Muscle Health

Food.MilkUnderstanding that diets are often built around food groups rather than specific nutrients, researchers from Switzerland, France, and North America decided to examine interactions between four nutrients found in dairy products and their role in preserving bone and skeletal muscle.

Calcium (Ca), inorganic phosphate (Pi), vitamin D, and protein are nutrients that impact bone and skeletal muscle integrity. Deficiency in the supply of these nutrients increases with aging. Dairy foods are rich in Ca, Pi, and proteins and in many countries are fortified with vitamin D. Dairy foods are important sources of these nutrients and go a long way to meeting the recommendations, which increase with aging.

While bone health is often associated with calcium alone, Calcium’s interactions with inorganic phosphate, vitamin D, and protein are important components of beneficial dairy consumption. Combined vitamin D and calcium supplementation has been shown to reduce the incidence of hip and other non-vertebral fractures among older populations, with some studies suggesting that vitamin D actually leads to lower rates of falling in subjects. Dietary protein, while often associated solely with muscle recovery, also promotes bone formation by stimulating both Ca and Pi intestinal absorption and the production of a bone growth factor.

Combining the four above-mentioned nutrients with physical activity decreases the likelihood of bone and muscle degeneration-related injury in older adults. Dairy products are a convenient way to work them into a diet, as they contain Ca, Pi, and protein at levels comparable to recommended intakes, and are fortified with vitamin D.

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Source: Taylor & Francis. “The role of dairy in maintaining adult bone and skeletal muscle health.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 July 2014.

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