Posted on Jul 11, 2018, 11 p.m.
Consuming a Mediterranean type diet may help to reduce bone loss in patients with osteoporosis, according to researchers from the University of East Anglia, as published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Findings show that maintaining a Mediterranean type diet which is rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts, unrefined cereals, olive oil, and fish can help to reduce hip bone loss within 12 months, in what may be the first long term pan-European clinical trial to investigate impacts of Mediterranean diets on bone health in older populations.
1142 people between the ages of 65 to 79 years old participated in the study who were divided into two randomised groups: one which followed Mediterranean diets and the other a control group. Bone density was measured at the beginning of the study and again after 12 months. The Mediterranean type diet was shown to have no discernible impact on participants with normal bone density, however the Mediterranean type diet did have an effect on participants with osteoporosis.
Control group participants continued to see typical age related decrease in bone density, participants following the diet saw equivalent increases in bone density in the femoral neck, which is the area that connects the shaft of the thigh bone to its rounded head fitting into the hip joint that is a sensitive area commonly involved in hip fracture in elderly people with osteoporosis.
Bone takes a long time to form, 12 months is a relatively short time frame to show an impact even though it is one of the longest trials to date, making being able to see a difference between the two groups in this area is significant.
Participants following the Mediterranean type diet increased consuming intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts, unrefined cereals, olive oil, fish, small quantities of dairy products, meat, and moderate alcohol intake. Participants in the intervention group were provided food such as wholemeal pasta, olive oil, and small vitamin D supplements to encourage sticking to the diet and even out effects of different levels of sunlight on vitamin D status.
Blood samples were taken from all participants to check for circulating biomarkers at the beginning and end of the trial. Bone density was measured in over 600 participants at the lumbar spine and femoral neck in both groups, just under 10% of those were found to have osteoporosis at the beginning of the study.
Researchers would like to conduct longer trials to confirm findings across a larger group to investigate whether impacts can be seen in other areas of the body. If osteoporosis could be mitigated through diet it would be a most welcome addition to drug treatments. Researchers add that in the meantime those with the condition have no reason for concern to stop them from considering adapting their diet to that of a Mediterranean diet which has already been proven to have health benefits for other conditions such as CVD, cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Materials provided by University of East Anglia.
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Jennings, Amy, Cashman, Kevin D, Gillings, Rachel, Cassidy, Aedin, Tang, Jonathan, Fraser, William, Dowling, Kirsten G, Hull, George LJ, Berendsen, Agnes AM, de Groot, Lisette CPGM, Pietruszka, Barbara, Wierzbicka, Ezbieta, Ostan, Rita, Bazzocchi, Alberto, Battista, Giuseppe, Caumon, Elodie, Meunier, Nathalie, Malpuech-Brugère, Corinne, Franceschi, Claudio, Santoro, Aurelia and Fairweather-Tait, Susan J (2018) A. Mediterranean-like dietary pattern with vitamin D3 (10ug/day) supplements reduced rate of bone loss in older Europeans with osteoporosis at baseline: results of a one year randomised controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2018