Anti-inflammatory diet could act to preserve bone strength: Study

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

A growing body of research suggests that higher-quality dietary patterns are favorably associated with bone mineral density (BMD) and fracture risk in older adults. ©iStock
A growing body of research suggests that higher-quality dietary patterns are favorably associated with bone mineral density (BMD) and fracture risk in older adults. ©iStock

Related tags Osteoporosis

New associations between food and bone health have been outlined in a study, which suggests that anti-inflammatory diets could strengthen bone and reduce fractures.

Investigations on postmenopausal women found a diet high in vegetables, fruits, fish and whole grains was associated with less bone mineral density loss.

In addition, a more inflammatory diet was associated with increased hip fracture risk only in white women younger than 63 years.

The study’s aim was to provide further proof of chronic inflammation’s link to an increased risk of age-related diseases, including osteoporosis and fragility fractures.

Dietary nutrients have demonstrated some influence in promoting or reducing inflammatory mechanisms.

Nevertheless, a single food or nutrient may not be adequate to reduce fracture risk in postmenopausal women.

Evidence has suggested an overall dietary pattern or diet quality may be more applicable to disease risk than intake of individual foods or nutrients.

Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) dataset

health care elderly ageing older TatyanaGl
Data was collected from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Observational Study and Clinical Trials cohort. ©iStock/TatyanaGI

Led by Dr Tonya Orchard, an assistant professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University, a research team began looking at whether dietary choices contributed to the inflammation that affected bone health.

Data was collected from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Observational Study and Clinical Trials.

Here, women totalling close to 162,000 between the ages of 50 and 79 years were enrolled between 1993 and 1998.

A total of 160,191 participants made up the data for this analysis of which dietary data was obtained and assigned a Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) based on 32 food components.

This data was based on women reporting their eating habits in the three months before they were enrolled.

A Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) score is a measure of how inflammatory a diet is.

BMD data for this study was also obtained from a sub-group of 10,290 OS and CT women. Fracture data was also taken at the start of the study at year three and at year six.

Main findings

The team found that women with the least-inflammatory diets (a low DII score) lost less bone density during the six-year follow-up period than women with the most-inflammatory diets.

This observation was noted even though they began with a lower bone density overall.

In addition, higher DII scores were associated with an almost 50% larger risk of hip fracture in Caucasian women younger than 63.

This observation was noted when compared with the risk for women in the group with the lowest inflammatory scores.

“By looking at the full diet rather than individual nutrients, these data provide a foundation for studying how components of the diet might interact to provide benefit and better inform women's health and lifestyle choices,"​ said Rebecca Jackson, the senior study author and director of Ohio State's Center for Clinical and Translational Science.

The link between inflammation and bone health has been much researched. Previous studies have provided proof that high levels of inflammatory markers in the blood can affect bone loss and fracture incidences in older women and men.

Interestingly, researchers found a slightly lower risk of lower-arm and total fracture in women with the high dietary inflammation scores.

The team attributed this observation to a more physically active lifestyle of women with lower inflammation scores and hence a greater risk of falls.

Source: Journal of Bone and Mineral Research

Published online ahead of print: DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.3070

“Dietary inflammatory index, bone mineral density and risk of fracture in postmenopausal women: results from the Women’s Health Initiative.”

Authors: Tonya Orchard et al.

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1 comment


Posted by JLarson,

Bones are basically an organ that makes RBC, WBC, platelets, etc. that grow bigger/stronger based on load.

Women are highly vulnerable to poor bone status due to poor diets and lack of exercise, etc. For example, in a recent AF study, 25% of women were iron anemic at entry. Treating the anemia plus issuing a multi-vitamin reduced injuries by half.

Despite the NIH, IOM, and NOF focusing on calcium & D, the reality is bones are 50% protein and need protein to heal (as well as 20 other nutrients). It is the protein matrix that makes bones resilient.

Or the NASA research shows good fats and plums improving bone status.

Peak bone mass is at 20 y/o, so if you want to prevent osteoporosis, start in the teens, not at 65.

"Osteoporosis is a disease with its roots in childhood, as bone size, strength, and mineralization peak in one's 20s. Since bone mass declines with advancing age and menopause, individuals who attain optimal peak bone mass during their younger years will have an advantage as they get older. Although it is largely genetically predetermined, peak bone mass is not always attained due to inadequate calcium and vitamin D intakes, poor overall nutrition, lack of physical activity, and other factors such as smoking.1 “

Brown JP et al. Canadian Consensus Conference on osteoporosis, 2006 update. J Ostete Gynaecol Can 2006;28(2 Suppl 1):S95-S112.

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