Journal Article

Protein Consumption and Bone Mineral Density in the Elderly

Joanne H. E. Promislow, Deborah Goodman-Gruen, Donald J. Slymen and Elizabeth Barrett-Connor

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 155, issue 7, pages 636-644
Published in print April 2002 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online April 2002 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Protein Consumption and Bone Mineral Density in the Elderly

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The role of dietary protein in osteoporosis is unclear, with previous studies having suggested both protection and harm. The associations of total, animal, and vegetable protein with bone mineral density (BMD) and the variations in these associations with calcium intake were studied in a community-dwelling cohort of 572 women and 388 men aged 55–92 years (Rancho Bernardo, California). Multiple linear regression analyses adjusted for standard osteoporosis covariates showed a positive association between animal protein consumption, assessed by food frequency questionnaires in 1988–1992, and BMD, measured 4 years later. This association was statistically significant in women. For every 15-g/day increase in animal protein intake, BMD increased by 0.016 g/cm2 at the hip (p = 0.005), 0.012 g/cm2 at the femoral neck (p = 0.02), 0.015 g/cm2 at the spine (p = 0.08), and 0.010 g/cm2 for the total body (p = 0.04). Conversely, a negative association between vegetable protein and BMD was observed in both sexes. Some suggestion of effect modification by calcium was seen in women, with increasing protein consumption appearing to be more beneficial for women with lower calcium intakes, but evidence for this interaction was not consistently strong. This study supports a protective role for dietary animal protein in the skeletal health of elderly women.

Keywords: aged; bone density; dietary proteins; osteoporosis; BMD, bone mineral density; CI, confidence interval; SD, standard deviation.

Journal Article.  5877 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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