Mediterranean Diet Supports Bone Health
A new study published in August 2012 indicates that adherence to a Mediterranean diet enriched with olive oil improves markers of bone health. Currently, osteoporosis and osteopenia affect 44 million people in the U.S., totaling 55 percent of adults aged 50 and older.
The researchers assigned 127 men at high cardiovascular risk to one of three dietary interventions:
1. A low-fat control diet,
2. A Mediterranean diet enriched with nuts, or
3. A Mediterranean diet enriched with virgin olive oil.
The investigators measured bone formation markers including total osteocalcin and pro-collagen I N-terminal pro-peptide concentrations and markers of bone resorption including undercarboxylated osteocalcin and C-telopeptide of type I collagen at the beginning of the study and again after two years. The researchers also assessed age, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, lipid profile and fasting insulin levels in the subjects.
The scientists found that in the Mediterranean diet plus olive oil group, total osteocalcin and pro-collagen I N-terminal pro-peptide concentration increased significantly, indicating improved bone formation. No change was shown in the subjects in the Mediterranean diet plus nuts or the low fat control diet groups. The researchers also found that the consumption of olives was positively associated with both baseline total osteocalcin and osteocalcin concentrations at two years.
The researchers concluded, “Consumption of a Mediterranean diet enriched with virgin olive oil for two years is associated with increased serum osteocalcin and pro-collagen I N-terminal pro-peptide concentrations, suggesting protective effects on bone.”
Fernandez-Real JM, et al. Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Aug 1.