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Yogurt Associated with Higher Bone Mineral Density

9/12/2017 1:29:01 PM
Yogurt is a rich source of calcium, magnesium, B vitamins, protein, branched-chain amino acids, bioactive peptides, and probiotics—all of which might contribute to musculoskeletal health. Results of the 12- year Framingham Offspring Study showed that yogurt intake was associated with higher bone mineral density (BMD) at the hip and had a weak protective effect against hip fracture. In a 2016 study, published by Laird et al, researchers further investigated the associations between yogurt intake and BMD, bone biomarkers, and physical function.
 
Data for this study came from 4310 community-dwelling Irish adults, aged 60 or older, participating in the Trinity, Ulster, Department of Agriculture aging cohort study (TUDA). Based on results from a food frequency questionnaire, high yogurt consumption was defined as >1 serving per day, low consumption was defined as 2-3 servings per week, and non-consumption was defined as <1 serving per week.  
 
In women who were not taking medications for BMD, total hip BMD was 3.1% higher (p=.005) and femoral BMD was 3.9% higher (p<.001) in high yogurt consumers than in non-consumers. Women with the highest yogurt consumption also had significantly lower Timed Up and Go (TUG) scores, indicating better functional mobility, muscle strength, and balance.  
 
In men, vertebral BMD was 4.1% higher (p=.028) in low yogurt consumers than in non-consumers. Men with the highest yogurt consumption also had mean TRAP 5b concentrations that were 9.5% lower (p=.003), indicating positive bone balance (TRAP 5b is considered a more sensitive biomarker of bone resorption than the collagen breakdown product CTX).  
 
Daily yogurt intake was a significant predictor of bone health, with each unit increase of 1 serving per week associated with a 31% lower risk of having osteopenia (OR=0.69; 95% CI, 0.49-0.96; p=.032) and a 39% lower risk of having osteoporosis (OR=0.61; 95% CI, 0.42-0.89; p=.012) in women and a 52% lower risk of osteoporosis (OR=0.48; 95% CI, 0.24-0.96; p=.038) in men.
 
This large cross-sectional study provides evidence that yogurt consumption is associated with higher BMD and better physical function in older adults. It is not known whether the results represent a causal relationship or if these findings will translate into a lower risk of fracture over time.      
 
Reference: Laird E, Molloy AM, McNulty H, et al. Greater yogurt consumption is associated with increased bone mineral density and physical function in older adults. Osteoporos Int. 2017