Yogurt is good for your bones—its consumption has been linked with higher bone density, and a lower risk of osteoporosis in the elderly. The new findings are published in the journal Osteoporosis International.
Increased yogurt consumption leads to healthier bones in older men and women, suggests the new study which was conducted by researchers from Ireland’s Trinity College Dublin who teamed up with investigators from St James’s Hospital Dublin, and Nutrition at Ulster University. The research constitutes the largest observational study that focuses on the consumption of dairy products and bone health in over 5,000 old people from Ireland (age group over 60).
A greater intake of yogurt is linked with a higher hip bone density. It also seems to account for a significant decrease in the risk of osteoporosis. Participants consuming the highest amount of yogurt were found to have a 3.1-3.9% higher total hip and femoral neck bone mineral density. Some of the physical function measures were also found to be better in the former group, around 6.7% improved. Furthermore, men consuming the most yogurt had a 9.5% decrease in the biomarker of bone breakdown.
An increase in yogurt consumption among the women was associated with 31% decrease in the risk of osteopenia. They also showed a 39% lower risk of osteoporosis; for men, it was a 52% lower risk.
Another finding entails vitamin D supplements: the consumption thereof was linked with reduced risks for both males and females.
Why is yogurt good for the bones? According to lead author of the study, Dr Eamon Laird, the food is rich in nutrients that are beneficial for the bone. He explains that increasing the intake of yogurt might boost hone health, though their findings need to be confirmed with further research.
Co-author Dr Miriam Casey adds that their study points out at a significant link between bone health and frailty, and a simple and cheap food item. Dr Casey mentions the need for randomised controlled trials to verify their results in order to investigate the ‘how’ of the link: what is the mechanism involved? She hints at the possibility of the beneficial effects of either microbiota or the micro and macro nutrients present in the yogurt.