With age, people tend to lose bone mass, and postmenopausal women in particular are at a higher risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture. However, there are things we can do to prevent this. A new study suggests that a diet rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients may reduce bone loss in some women.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimate that in the United States, more than 53 million people have osteoporosis already or are at an increased risk of developing it because they have low bone density.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bone strength is reduced, leading to a higher risk of bone fractures – in fact, the disease is the leading cause of bone fractures in postmenopausal women and the elderly.
Most bone fractures occur in the hip, wrist, and spine. Of these, hip fractures tend to be the most serious, as they require hospitalization and surgery.
It used to be believed that osteoporosis was a natural part of aging, but most medical experts now agree that the condition can and should be prevented.
New research from the Ohio State University found a link between nutrition and osteoporosis. The study was led by Tonya Orchard, an assistant professor of human nutrition at the Ohio State University, and the findings were published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Density.
Analyzing the link between diet and bone loss
Orchard and team investigated data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WIH) study and compared levels of inflammatory nutrients in the diet with bone mineral density (BMD) levels and fracture incidence.
The WIH is the largest health study of postmenopausal women ever conducted in the U.S. Women were enrolled in the study between 1993 and 1998.
The researchers used the dietary inflammatory index (DII) and correlated the measurements with the risk of hip, lower-arm and total fracture using data from the longitudinal study.
They then assessed the changes in BMD and DII scores. The researchers distributed food frequency questionnaires to 160,191 women aged 63 on average, who had not reported a history of hip fracture at the beginning of the study.
Researchers used BMD data from 10,290 of these women and collected fracture data from the entire group. The women were clinically followed for 6 years.
Orchard and team used Cox models to calculate fracture hazard ratios and adjust for age, race, ethnicity, and other variables.