Background: Osteoporosis and related fractures will be growing public health problems as the population ages. It is therefore of great importance to identify modifiable risk factors.
Objective: We investigated associations between dietary components contributing to an alkaline environment (dietary potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetables) and bone mineral density (BMD) in elderly subjects.
Design: Dietary intake measures were associated with both cross-sectional (baseline) and 4-y longitudinal change in BMD among surviving members of the original cohort of the Framingham Heart Study. Dietary and supplement intakes were assessed by food-frequency questionnaire, and BMD was measured at 3 hip sites and 1 forearm site.
Results: Greater potassium intake was significantly associated with greater BMD at all 4 sites for men and at 3 sites for women (P < 0.05). Magnesium intake was associated with greater BMD at one hip site for both men and women and in the forearm for men. Fruit and vegetable intake was associated with BMD at 3 sites for men and 2 for women. Greater intakes of potassium and magnesium were also each associated with less decline in BMD at 2 hip sites, and greater fruit and vegetable intake was associated with less decline at 1 hip site, in men. There were no significant associations between baseline diet and subsequent bone loss in women.
Conclusion: These results support the hypothesis that alkaline-producing dietary components, specifically, potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetables, contribute to maintenance of BMD.