Saturday, May 2, 2009

Study Shows Dairy Intake Best for Bone Health

Eating foods fortified with calcium, or taking calcium supplements may not be as good as dairy intake according to a new study from Purdue University. Researchers looked at the difference in bone health between rats fed a nutritious diet supplemented with calcium carbonate and rats given dairy products.

The study showed that dairy intake led to the best bone health between the two groups of rats. After ten weeks of diet followed by comparison of bone measurements, the rats given non-fat dry milk had longer, stronger, and denser bones than those fed calcium carbonate.

Kids drink plenty of milk early in life. According to the study, dairy intake then declines, likely from peer pressure. Bone health later in life is best facilitated by a steady intake of dairy products throughout life, suggested by the current study.

Professor Connie Weaver, head of the food and nutrition department at Purdue University says, "A lot of companies say, if you don't drink milk, then take your calcium pills or calcium-fortified food. There has been no study designed properly to compare bone growth from supplements and milk or dairy to see if it has the same effect. We found it was an advantage having milk or dairy while bones were growing over calcium carbonate, and it protects you later in life."

Weaver also says it is not just about the way calcium is absorbed. Rats given half as much calcium in adulthood still maintained better bone health, compared to rats who did not receive dairy products when they were younger.

"It's not due to increased calcium absorption. It's more about protecting against bones losing calcium, according to our results of calcium metabolism. Bones are in constant turnover, especially when they are growing. Youth need to have bone formation to outweigh bone loss."

More research will reveal why dairy products, equivalent to 1300 mg. of calcium daily from milk, yogurt and cheeses leads to better bone health, compared to food fortified foods and calcium carbonate supplements. Natural whole food sources of nutriton seem to offer our best options for optimal health, and in this study, dairy intake is shown to be best for bone health.

Enjoy a video all about milk.