Nutrition in Bone Health Revisited: A Story Beyond Calcium
Jasminka Z. Ilich, PhD, RD, Jane E. Kerstetter, PhD, RD
University of Connecticut, School of Allied Health, Storrs, Connecticut [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Osteoporosis is a complex, multi-factorial condition characterized by reduced bone mass and impaired micro-architectural structure, leading to an increased susceptibility to fractures. Although most of the bone strength (including bone mass and quality) is genetically determined, many other factors (nutritional, environmental and life-style) also influence bone. Nutrition is important modifiable factor in the development and maintenance of bone mass and the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Approximately 80-90% of bone mineral content is comprised of calcium and phosphorus. Other dietary components, such as protein, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, fluoride, vitamins D, A, C, and K are required for normal bone metabolism, while other ingested compounds not usually categorized as nutrients (e.g. caffeine, alcohol, phytoestrogens) may also impact bone health. Unraveling the interaction between different factors; nutritional, environmental, life style, and heredity help us to understand the complexity of the development of osteoporosis and subsequent fractures. This paper reviews the role of dietary components on bone health throughout different stages of life. Each nutrient is discussed separately, however the fact that many nutrients are co-dependent and simultaneously interact with genetic and environmental factors should not be neglected. The complexity of the interactions is probably the reason why there are controversial or inconsistent findings regarding the contribution of a single or a group of nutrients in bone health.