[Diet, nutrition and bone health]

Clin Ter. 2005 Jan-Apr;156(1-2):47-56.
[Article in Italian]


Nutrition is an important "modifiable" factor in the development and maintenance of bone mass and in the prevention of osteoporosis. The improvement of calcium intake in prepuberal age translates to gain in bone mass and, with genetic factor, to achievement of Peak Bone Mass (PBM), the higher level of bone mass reached at the completion of physiological growth. Individuals with higher PBM achieved in early adulthood will be at lower risk for developing osteoporosis later in life. Achieved the PBM, it is important maintain the bone mass gained and reduce the loss. This is possible adopting a correct behaviour eating associated to regular physical activity and correct life style. The diet is nutritionally balanced with caloric intake adequate to requirement of individual. This is moderate in protein (1 g/kg/die), normal in fat and the carbohydrates provide 55-60% of the caloric intake. A moderate intake of proteins is associated with normal calcium metabolism and presumably does'nt alter bone turnover. An adequate intake of alkali-rich foods may help promote a favorable effect of dietary protein on the skeleton. Lactose intolerance may determinate calcium malabsorption or may decrease calcium intake by elimination of milk and dairy products. Omega3 fatty acids may "down-regulate" pro-inflammatory cytokines and protect against bone loss by decreasing osteoclast activation and bone reabsorption. The diet is characterized by food containing high amount of calcium, potassium, magnesium and low amount of sodium. If it is impossible to reach the requirement with only diet, it is need the supplement of calcium and vitamin D. Other vitamins (Vit. A, C, E, K) and mineral (phosphorus, fluoride, iron, zinc, copper and boron) are required for normal bone metabolism, thus it is need adequate intake of these dietary components. It is advisable reduce ethanol, caffeine, fibers, phytic and ossalic acid intake. The efficacy of phytoestrogens is actually under investigation. Some drugs may interfere with calcium and other nutrients and produce an unfavourable effect on bone health.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Development / physiology
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Bone and Bones / physiology*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Calcium, Dietary / metabolism
  • Diet*
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Requirements*
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / metabolism


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium