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Aging health. 2010 Jun 1;6(3):345-357.

Optimizing bone health in older adults: the importance of dietary protein.

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Department of Allied Health Science, 358 Mansfield Rd, Box U-2101, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269-2101, USA.


Age-related bone loss is progressive and can lead to osteoporosis. While it is accepted that both dietary calcium and vitamin D are important and beneficial for skeletal health, the impact of dietary protein on calcium metabolism and bone balance remains controversial. Contrary to the hypothesis that increasing dietary protein contributes to bone loss, research supports the notion that protein may play a pivotal role in maintenance of bone health by several mechanisms; for example, increasing dietary protein increases IGF-1, calcium absorption, muscle strength and mass, all of which could potentially benefit the skeleton. A moderate increase in dietary protein recommendations for the aging population (above the recommended dietary allowance of 0.8 g/kg) may be beneficial to bone health, while still falling within the safe and acceptable range for protein intake (as defined by the dietary reference intakes).

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