Can Yogurt Increase Bone Health?

You are what you eat – and if what you’re eating is yogurt, then there’s good news in store. Research shows that postmenopausal women who eat at least one daily serving of yogurt tend to have lower body mass index (BMI), less fat, and higher bone density than women who never eat yogurt at all.

Emmanuel Biver, M.D., Ph.D., chief resident at the Geneva University Hospitals, Switzerland, authored a study which analyzed the effects of aging on bone and muscle health. Participants consisted of 733 healthy postmenopausal women who underwent baseline bone-mineral-density (BMD) screening, and repeated BMD screening three years later. Participants also completed food frequency questionnaires and physical activity assessments.

Researchers evaluated total calcium, protein and energy intake. Yogurt consumption was classified as never, less than one serving per day, and one or more servings per day.

At baseline, women who reported eating yogurt had 4.4 percent higher BMD in the lumbar spine, were 6.4 percent leaner, and had a 10 percent lower prevalence of low trauma fractures compared to women who never ate yogurt.

At the three year follow-up, researchers found that loss of BMD in the total hip and at the distal radius was attenuated in yogurt consumers, and these results were independent of outside factors such as BMI, physical activity, and calcium and protein intake.

“Yogurt is a source of nutrients, in particular calcium and protein, but it also contains fermented daily products and probiotics, all of which are potentially beneficial for bone health,” explained Dr. Biver at the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research 2016 Annual Meeting.

“So we hypothesized that yogurt consumption might attenuate bone loss in postmenopausal women, and this benefit would be independent of total dietary calcium and protein intake,” he continued.

“And our data suggest that there is a possible protective effect of fermented dairy products on postmenopausal cortical bone loss,” he concluded.
Biver suggested that yogurt consumption may simply be indicative of a healthier lifestyle, which can contribute to greater bone health. However, fermented dairy products are also known to support healthy gut microbiota, which could positively influence bone health. Researchers plan to continue their studies to further investigate this hypothesis (Source: Medscape).

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