NEW YORK -- A study published in this month's edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition credits certain nutrients found in fruits and vegetables with being "positively associated with bone health."
The study, "Dietary Influences on Bone Mass and Bone Metabolism: Further Evidence of a Positive Link Between Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Bone Health?", found that higher intakes of substances found in abundance in fruits and vegetables, like zinc, magnesium, potassium, fiber and vitamin C, can protect bones from fractures by keeping them strong. The study focused on middle-aged women, as they are most prone to bone injury.
A team of researchers, led by Susan A. New of the Centre for Nutrition and Food Safety at the University of Surrey in Guildford, United Kingdom, intended the study to further define the role of nutritional influences on bone health, citing most previous studies have focused primarily on calcium intake. Based on previous findings, which hinted at the fresh-produce/strong-bones connection, the researchers concentrated their investigation on the effects of these other micronutrients found in fruits and vegetables.
The study examined a group of 62 healthy women between the ages of 45 and 55. Bone mineral density was measured at several key points, including the lumbar spine and femoral neck, with bone resorption and formation calculated as well. Participants also filled out detailed questionnaires, which addressed their dietary habits, as well as other lifestyle factors.
Results showed higher intakes of magnesium and potassium to be associated with higher total bone mass; and bone mineral density in the femoral neck region was found to be higher in women who had consumed high amounts of fruit in their childhood than in women who had consumed medium or low amounts.
The findings also showed that potassium not only slowed the excretion of calcium from the body, but increased the rate of bone formation as well.
Vitamin C was also found to be an apparent contributor to bone formation, while magnesium was found to be "extremely important in skeletal metabolism." Other studies also have indicated that magnesium deficiency can possibly contribute to osteoporosis.