Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether frequent onion consumption is associated with increased bone density in perimenopausal and postmenopausal non-Hispanic white women 50 years and older.
Methods: An analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2004 was performed. Perimenopausal and postmenopausal non-Hispanic white female participants (unweighted N = 507; weighted N = 35.7 million) were divided into those who consumed onions less than once a month, twice a month to twice a week, three to six times a week, and once a day or more based on self-reported dietary history. All study participants underwent total body dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.
Results: After controlling for age, body mass index, daily calcium intake, serum vitamin D, serum parathyroid hormone, estrogen use, smoking status, and exercise status, bone density increased as the frequency of onion consumption increased. Individuals who consumed onions once a day or more had an overall bone density that was 5% greater than individuals who consumed onions once a month or less (P < 0.03).
Conclusions: Onion consumption seems to have a beneficial effect on bone density in perimenopausal and postmenopausal non-Hispanic white women 50 years and older. Furthermore, older women who consume onions most frequently may decrease their risk of hip fracture by more than 20% versus those who never consume onions.