T Nation

Protein Boosts Bone Density!


Interesting article out of "Perth Australia."

PERTH, Australia--Dietary protein intake was positively associated with bone mineral density (BMD) in a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (81, 6:1423-28, 2005).

Researchers conducted a cross-sectional, longitudinal trial on a population-based sample of 1,077 women aged 72 to 78 years. At baseline, protein consumption was measured with a food frequency questionnaire; bone mass and structure were measured through quantitative ultrasound of the heel. Subjects were administered a mean of 80.5 ? 27.8 g/d of protein, or 1.19 ? 0.44 g protein/kg body weight/d. At the conclusion of the year-long study, hip BMD was measured with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.

The researchers discovered a positive correlation between protein intake and BMD after adjustment for age, body mass index and the effect of other nutrients. Subjects in the lowest tertile of protein consumption (less than 66 g/d dietary protein) had significantly lower qualitative ultrasound of the heel and hip BMD than did subjects in the higher tertiles (more than 87 g/d dietary protein).

Based upon the results of the study, the researchers concluded protein intakes above current recommendations for elderly women may be necessary to optimize bone mass.

So much for the whiners who claim that protein can inhibit bone development. Another myth falls by the way side regarding protein.


Funny how "new" science is almost always contradicting "old science." Yawn.


I dont know, being that they were elderly women, and not exercising, at least not intensely, I don't know how much this tells us. A lot of elderly don't get enough protein. Maybe the added protein somehow contributed to greater bone density when the study diet was administered. just a thought


Well Zeb is an elderly woman.


Do you know what their source of protein was? If they consumed a lot of milk protein, that makes a big difference. New studies suggest that milk proteins (and other components of milk) have a synergistic effect with calcium on increased bone density.


I think the "origninal" data that started all of this suggested that higher protein diets were bad for bones (i.e. negative calcium balance or some such). In retrospect this was likely more...perhaps PETA propaganda and more recent work (I'd have to do a lit search) does not support this.


Boy we're really making progress here, on a weighttraining website. "In the latest news tonight...ehemm Protein is good!! Back to you, Kelly"


This is an ignorant statement. Of course we know protein is good. But there had been some research that eating large amounts of protein caused leeching of calcium from bones. Zeb brought up this study in an attempt to refute that myth. Although the study may have had flaws, as the other posts have suggested, I nevertheless thought the information was quite useful.


It's not an ignorant statement, it's called a joke.


The answers to this post are disheartening. While I don't believe Zeb has ever said anything politically that I could agree with, this is solid info.

It seems to me people are letting thier feelings about politics bleed over into thier judgments of others. A fellow T-member shares info he thought to be of value, and gets ripped for it.



Actually, I've learned to live with the ignorant comments. I know who is saying them and why, (and so do most of the others who count around here). In other words I consider the source.

I'll continue to contribute to this great site. And much to the chagrin of my detractors I will also continue to post on the political threads :slightly_smiling:


Just some info to add to this topic...

High protein intake does raise calcium excretion. However, whether protein depletes calcium from bones likely depends on the ratio of protein intake to calcium intake. While an exact ratio hasn't been identified, the recommendations for the average woman will yeild a ratio of 20mg Ca to 1g PRO. Typical intakes of calcium yeild a 9:1 ratio. As of now, evidence is still insufficient for setting an upper limit for protein or an adjustment of calcium.

An earlier post contains a good point about elderly women typically not getting enough protein and how that probably affected the outcome of the study. Insufficient protein intake is as bad for bones as insufficient calcium intake.


I think we're getting so much calcium these days that it's a good thing some of it gets shoved around. And calcium isn't the only thing bones need.