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19-09-2011 | Bone health | Article

Specific nutritional regimens are not the best way to prevent bone loss in Asian women

Abstract

Free abstract

MedWire News: Taking appropriate treatment and maintaining a healthy weight, rather than following a specific diet, are best for protecting bones, shows a study in elderly Japanese women.

"The incidence of fracture due to osteoporosis begins to rise steeply in the eighth decade of life, and individuals who have reached this age should be the primary focus of prevention," say Kazutoshi Nakamura and colleagues from Niigata University in Japan.

Past research into the determinants of low bone mineral density (BMD), an indicator of osteoporotic fracture risk, has covered a range of ages. However, few BMD studies have focused on women over 70 years of age. Likewise, studies targeting Asians are limited in number. This research, published in the journal Nutrition, aimed to determine the factors affecting bone loss in community-dwelling Japanese women aged 69 years or older.

The study involved 389 women from Muramatsu, Japan, who underwent an initial examination in 2003 and completed a follow-up assessment 6 years later. Nutritional and biochemical parameters were investigated for their affect on patients' forearm BMD over time, which was measured using dual-X-ray-absorptiometry (DXA).

The mean change in forearm BMD in over 6 years was -0.019 g/cm3, and there was a negative correlation between baseline BMD and change in BMD. Baseline serum albumin levels, change in weight, and treatment for osteoporosis were all significantly positively associated with change in forearm BMD, By contrast, physical activity, calcium intake, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, undercarboxylated osteocalcin, and bone turnover markers were not related to BMD changes.

Asian diets are typically low in calcium; the mean calcium intake of the patients in this study was 619 mg/d, which is lower than that of most Europeans and North Americans. However, this research showed no significant association between calcium intake and bone loss. The researchers suggest that this may be due to increased calcium absorption in the intestine triggered by low calcium levels.

Vitamin D and vitamin K status have been linked with bone health in the past, but these results suggest that they may not be important predictors of BMD in elderly women compared with other factors.

"Adequate general nutrition and appropriate osteoporosis treatment, rather than a specific nutritional regimen, are recommended to prevent bone loss in elderly women," conclude the researchers. "This strategy, in combination with a strategy for fall prevention, may be effective for fracture prevention in women of this age group."

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By Chloe McIvor

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