Protein and bone health across the lifespan

Dolan, E. and Sale, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-5816-4169, 2018. Protein and bone health across the lifespan. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. ISSN 0029-6651

12065_Sale.pdf - Post-print

Download (316kB) | Preview


Bone health is determined by the rate of accrual in early life, followed by the rate of age associated bone loss. Dietary protein intake might have a role in bone health across both of these phases via pleiotropic mechanistic pathways. Herein we summarise the pathways through which protein may exert either a positive or negative influence on bone. In Section 1, we describe the acid-ash hypothesis, which states that a high protein intake may lead to an acidic residue that must be neutralised through the leaching of calcium and other minerals from the bone, subsequently leading to demineralisation and bone weakening. Conversely, and as described in Section 2, protein intake may act to strengthen bone by stimulating the activity of various anabolic hormones and growth factors, or by optimising muscle mass and functionality, which itself has an osteogenic influence. The net effect of these contrasting pathways is described in Section 3, where a number of meta-analyses have demonstrated that higher protein intakes have a small positive impact on bone mass and fracture risk. Sometimes higher than recommended protein intakes are advised, e.g., during the earlier and later phases of the lifespan or during reduced energy availability. We conclude that protein is an essential nutrient for bone health, although further research is required to clarify the mechanistic pathways through which it exerts its influence, along with clarification of the quantities, food sources and timing to allow for the optimisation of this protective influence and ultimately a reduction in fracture risk.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Proceedings of the Nutrition Society
Creators: Dolan, E. and Sale, C.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Date: 10 August 2018
ISSN: 0029-6651
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 27 Sep 2018 09:46
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2018 09:46

Actions (login required)

Edit View Edit View


Views per month over past year


Downloads per month over past year