Is Too Much Protein Bad for Bones?
Women who ate less vegetable protein had lower bone mineral density compared with women who ate more
Along with well-known minerals like calcium and vitamin D, getting enough protein is essential for bone health. However, since previous studies have found that eating very high amounts of dietary protein may increase the amount of calcium the body excretes, researchers have wondered: can too much protein actually be bad for bone health? A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests the answer is "No," reporting that higher dietary protein did not harm bones of premenopausal women.
Eating for strong bones
To explore the link between dietary protein and bone health, researchers enrolled 560 premenopausal women ages 14 to 40 years old and assessed their bone mineral density and the amount and type of dietary protein they ate over 3 years. Results showed:
Few women in this study were consuming what is considered the upper limits of the recommended amount of protein that women should consume, which is 35% of total calories. So the authors note that it still isn't known whether very high amounts of protein may have a poor effect on bone, or what the optimal amounts of protein for bone health might be.
Choose good habits to protect bones
There are a number of important steps a woman can take to optimize her bone health--take a look at these tips:
(Am J Clin Nutr doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28728)
Jane Hart, MD, board-certified in internal medicine, serves in a variety of professional roles including consultant, journalist, and educator. Dr. Hart, a Clinical Instructor at Case Medical School in Cleveland, Ohio, writes extensively about health and wellness and a variety of other topics for nationally recognized organizations, websites, and print publications. Sought out for her expertise in the areas of integrative and preventive medicine, she is frequently quoted by national and local media. Dr. Hart is a professional lecturer for healthcare professionals, consumers, and youth and is a regular corporate speaker.