Mediterranean diet linked to bone health

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

Research probes Mediterranean diet link to bone health ©iStock/Droits d'auteur klenova
Research probes Mediterranean diet link to bone health ©iStock/Droits d'auteur klenova
Eating a Mediterranean diet can help reduce bone loss in people with osteoporosis, a new study reveals.

While the health benefits of the so-called Mediterranean diet is widely acknowledged, currently there are few studies examining the relationship between Mediterranean diets and bone health.

For this reason, scientists coordinated by the University of East Anglia in the UK carried out one of the first long-term intervention studies examining the effect of the Mediterranean diet on bone mass density.

The project consisted of a one-year multicentre randomised controlled trail on elderly Europeans. It looked at the effect of a Mediterranean-like diet on indexes of inflammation as well as a number of secondary endpoints, including bone mineral density.

A total of 1,294 participants were recruited for the study, with an average age of 70.9 years, and 1142 people completed the full year of research.

Carried out across five European centres, the intervention group received individually tailored dietary advice coupled with supplies of foods including whole-grain pasta, olive oil and vitamin D. The control group’s participants were provided with leaflets on healthy eating available in their country.

The results showed the adoption of a Mediterranean-like dietary pattern had “no effect” on bone mass density, either on a site-specific or whole-body basis. The inclusion of compliance to the intervention in the statistical model did not change the findings, the researchers noted.

There was also no effect of the intervention on the urinary biomarkers free pyridinoline or free deoxypyridinoline. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D significantly increased and parathyroid hormone decreased in participants who adopted the Mediterranean diet compared with the control group.

However, significantly, the researchers noted that the Mediterranean diet did have an impact of those suffering from osteoporosis.

“Subgroup analysis of individuals with osteoporosis at baseline showed that the Mediterranean diet attenuated the expected decline in femoral neck bone mass density… but had no effect on lumbar spine or whole-body bone mass density.

“A 1-y intervention of the Mediterranean-like diet together with vitamin D3supplements (10 µg/d) had no effect on BMD in the normal age-related range, but it significantly reduced the rate of loss of bone at the femoral neck in individuals with osteoporosis.”

Source: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Published online ahead of print: DOI:
"A Mediterranean-like dietary pattern with vitamin D3 (10 µg/d) supplements reduced the rate of bone loss in older Europeans with osteoporosis at baseline: results of a 1-y randomized controlled trial"
Authors: Amy Jennings Kevin D Cashman Rachel Gillings Aedin Cassidy Jonathan TangWilliam Fraser Kirsten G Dowling George L J Hull Agnes A M BerendsenLisette C P G M de Groot  Barbara Pietruszka Elzbieta Wierzbicka Rita OstanAlberto Bazzocchi Giuseppe Battista Elodie Caumon Nathalie MeunierCorinne Malpuech-Brugère Claudio Franceschi Aurelia SantoroSusan J Fairweather-Tait

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