Milk–a calcium boost for your bones

July 1, 1993

Milk–a calcium boost for your bones

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Milk helps build up bones of Asian women

The Midwest Dairy Council reports that Asian women—who are often petite and small-boned—are at significant risk for osteoporosis. Additionally, the Asian diet is typically low in calcium (less than 500 mg/day on average), which increases the risk of this brittle bone disease. New research demonstrates that adding milk to the diets of Asian women may be an effective strategy to help halt height and bone loss. This two-year randomized controlled trial of 200 postmenopausal Asian women examined the impact of adding dry milk containing 800 mg of calcium to their daily diets. Those women in the milk supplementation group lost less height as well as less bone mineral density (BMD) compared to those who did not receive the dry milk. In addition, the extra milk resulted in a reduction in bone loss by more than 50 percent. The women receiving the dry milk also had higher intakes of vitamin D, protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and a range of other nutrients.

Aging Americans need a nutrition lesson

As baby boomers age, health professionals are examining their special nutritional needs. According to an expert advisory panel including renowned bone health expert Robert Heaney, M.D., the quality of most older adults’ diets needs to be improved. Sponsored by National Dairy Council, the panel found that only 1 percent of older adults have a food intake pattern consistent with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Guide Pyramid, with dairy and fruit intakes particularly low. The authors note that older adults (ages 65 and over) are falling short of several essential nutrients including calcium and vitamin D, both of which are provided in a glass of milk. Previous research has also found that maintaining a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, even when taking medication, can help prevent bone loss.

Calcium may help reduce

the formation of kidney stones

New research findings refute the myth that milk and other calcium-rich milk group foods should be restricted among people prone to kidney stones. The authors note that calcium helps neutralize the effect of oxalate, a compound in fruits, vegetables, beans and whole-grains that may trigger the formation of kidney stones in some people. Also, those individuals who form stones and are on a high calcium diet, have a lower occurrence of stone formation than those people on a low calcium diet.

Have your daily dose of “D”

When it comes to bone building, vitamin D is often dubbed a calcium sidekick, but new research shows that it may play an even more critical role in the prevention of osteoporosis and fractures than previously believed. A new study examined 161 healthy postmenopausal women who were at risk for osteoporosis. The researchers looked at vitamin D levels, dietary calcium intake, bone mineral density and body mass index. Results showed that approximately 40 percent of the women had vitamin D insufficiency, which was associated with low bone mass, and a higher risk for osteoporosis. The researchers state supplementing the diet of postmenopausal women with vitamin D-fortified milk and milk group foods is an “inexpensive, simple and safe” way to reverse vitamin D insufficiency and improve bone mass.

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