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Proc Nutr Soc. 2003 Nov;62(4):889-99.

Intake of fruit and vegetables: implications for bone health.

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Centre for Nutrition & Food Safety, School of Biomedical & Molecular Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, Surrey, UK.

Erratum in

  • Proc Nutr Soc. 2004 Feb;63(1):187.


'These famous words by Mencken in the early 20th century about the meaning of life and death, may also apply to the struggle of the healthy skeleton against the deleterious effects of retained acid!' (Kraut & Coburn, 1994). The health-related benefit of a high consumption of fruit and vegetables and the influence of this food group on a variety of diseases has been gaining increasing prominence in the literature over a number of years. Of considerable interest to the osteoporosis field is the role that bone plays in acid-base balance. Natural, pathological and experimental states of acid loading and acidosis have been associated with hypercalciuria and negative Ca balance, and more recently the detrimental effects of 'acid' from the diet on bone mineral have been demonstrated. Suprisingly, consideration of the skeleton as a source of 'buffer' contributing to both the preservation of the body's pH and defence of the system against acid-base disorders has been ongoing for over three decades. However, it is only more recently that the possibility of a positive link between a high consumption of fruit and vegetables and indices of bone health has been more fully explored. A number of population-based studies published in the last decade have demonstrated a beneficial effect of fruit and vegetable and K intake on axial and peripheral bone mass and bone metabolism in men and women across the age-ranges. Further support for a positive link between fruit and vegetable intake and bone health can be found in the results of the Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension (DASH) and DASH-Sodium intervention trials. There is now an urgent requirement for the implementation of: (1) fruit and vegetable and alkali administration-bone health intervention trials, including fracture risk as an end point; (2) re-analysis of existing dietary-bone mass and metabolism datasets to look specifically at the impact of dietary 'acidity' on the skeleton.

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