Proteins and calcium intake essential for preserving bone

by Editor
Monday, October 04, 2010

Involuntary loss of muscle (sarcopenia) and bone (osteoporosis) mass are chronic diseases that stem from old age. Research has shown that bone loss may start as early as age 30 and loss of skeletal muscle occurs at a rate of three to eight percent per decade after the age of 30.

These diseases are often associated with decreased metabolic rate, increased risk of falls and fracture, and as a result, increased morbidity and loss of independence.

A new review, however, from the Nutrition Department, School of Public Health at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, found evidence that increased essential amino acid or protein availability can enhance muscle protein synthesis and anabolism, as well as improve bone homeostasis in older subjects, helping to treat or prevent these diseases.

Protein intake seemed to be very important for providing some benefit in managing chronic diseases such as osteoporosis and sarcopenia, noted lead researchers Patrícia de Souza Genaro and Lígia Araujo Martini.

The review cites recent evidence that supports the hypothesis that dietary protein, along with calcium, is critical for bone health and fracture reduction, and the quantity of protein intake may be important for preserving bone mass later in life.

Protein sources, the researchers say, may also have different effects on bone metabolism and bone mineral density (BMD).