Is Dairy Really Good For Your Bones?

Is Dairy Really Good For Your Bones?

Yes, it is good for bone health in many ways. Dairy is the best source of calcium in all over the human diet, it give strength to bones by improving bone density, reduces the risk of Osteoporosis(means porous bones)  or fractures in elderly people. Moreover, dairy also contains proteins, phosphorus, Vitamin K2 (found in grass-fed cows, full-fat dairy milk) & micronutrients also, which are bone- boosting nutrients. Dairy not only contains micro nutrients but it also contains macronutrients, essentials for bone health.

According to evolutionary perspective (1), humans have been consuming dairy for a relatively short time on an evolutionary scale. They are also the only species that consumes milk after weaning or from another species. There is no clear evidence that dairy shows adverse effects on bone health.

The recommended RDA of dairy is 2-3 servings, as an enough source of Calcium for bones.

Role of dairy micronutrients in bone health:

Dairy products (2) is a unique micro-nutrient combination such as minerals & vitamins. The minerals include Ca, Mg, Na, K, P, Cl, Cu, and Zn & Se) & both type of vitamins are present, including water soluble or fat soluble. The concentration of these vitamins in dairy depends on the several factors.

Role of minerals:

There are several minerals found in dairy. Each mineral has its own role in maintaining bone’s health such as

  • Calcium helps in the development of skeleton in young & the maintenance of bone mass in adult. A recent research suggested that higher Ca intake over 1-2 years slightly increase bone mineral density by 0.6%-1.8% from dairy sources. It also reduces fracture risks.
  • Magnesium makes about 1% of the total bone mineral content, along with Calcium & Phosphate. A recommended RDA with 250 mg/day of magnesium is enough to support bone health
  • Zinc helps in callus formation in bone fractures. Zinc plays a crucial role in the regulation of bone homeostasis. Many proteins linked with zinc are found to involve in the regulation of cellular function in Osteoblasts and Osteoclasts . Furthermore, zinc inhibits bone resorption. A recommended RDA for minimum intake of zinc is 12 mg and for bone health 15 mg is recommended.
  • Manganese serves as a co-factor in the formation of bone cartilage and bone collagen, as well as in bone mineralization. The RDA of manganese is 1.8 mg/day for women and 2.3 mg/day for men; relative to bone health. Manganese, copper and zinc in combination with a calcium supplement were found to be more effective than the calcium supplement alone in preventing spinal bone loss.
  • Boron has a special role in bone metabolism. It allows changes in composition, structure & strength of bones.
  • Copper plays an importance role in bone health maintenance also inhibits osteoclastic resorption. The RDA of copper for bone health in adults is 0.9mg/day.
  • Silicon serves as part in bone formation. High intake of silicon increases the bone mineral density in men. . The RDA of Silicon is 25mg/day promote bone health.
  • Iron helps in collagen formation.
  • Selenium is inversely related to bone remodeling. It also appears to be maintaining bone metabolism by proliferating osteoclast/osteoblast cells. The RDA of selenium is of 55 μg/day.

Role of Vitamins:

Here vitamins that are essential for bone health which includes fat soluble & water soluble both.

  1. Fat soluble vitamins:
  • Vitamin A causes a great influence on osteoblasts (bone building cells) & osteoclasts (bone breaking cells). It is found in fat-free milk. Too much Vitamin A can cause bone loss & fractures also.
  • Vitamin D (3) needed to build strong bones in children & to maintain bone’s health in adults
  • Vitamin K is necessary for bone growth & development .It also helps to attract calcium to bone. Its low intake can cause lower bone density.
  1. Water Soluble Vitamin:
  • Vitamin C is good for healthy bones, also necessary for the formation of collagen. Its increase intake increases the bone density.
  • Vitamin B12 also has a great effect on bone building cells. It is found in dairy products. Its deficiency can result in bone loss.
Adverse effects of ill-consuming dairy:
  • As u knows, dairy is a rich source of calcium. Our body maintains calcium levels in blood in a very narrow range. If you are not consuming enough calcium from your diet, then your body extracts it from bones in order to sustain other functions that are necessary for immediate survival.
  • With the passage of time, some amount of calcium is continually excretes in the urine. If your dairy intake doesn’t compensate for what is lost, your bones will lose calcium over time, making them less dense, fragile and more likely to break.
  • In Western countries, Osteoporosis is most common in post-menopausal women (6), a leading cause of bone fractures in elderly people.

As it is discussed earlier, dairy contains all those micronutrients that are essential for optimal bone health. Moreover, these micronutrients also serve as a low-cost & preventive measure for several bone problems such as Osteoporosis, fragility fractures & bone resorption etc.


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