Osteoporosis is a skeletal disease characterized by a decrease in bone mass and bone quality that predispose an individual to an increased risk of fragility fractures. Evidence demonstrating a positive link between certain dietary patterns (e.g. Mediterranean diet or high consumption of fruits and vegetables) and bone health highlights an opportunity to investigate their potential to protect against the deterioration of bone tissue during ageing. While the list of these phytonutrients is extensive, this review summarizes evidence on some which are commonly consumed and have gained increasing attention over recent years, including lycopene and various polyphenols (e.g. polyphenols from tea, grape seed, citrus fruit, olive and dried plum). Evidence to define a clear link between these phytonutrients and bone health is currently insufficient to generate precise dietary recommendations, owing to mixed findings or a scarcity in clinical data. Moreover, their consumption typically occurs within the context of a diet consisting of a mix of phytonutrients and other nutrients rather than in isolation. Future clinical trials that can apply a robust set of outcome measurements, including the determinants of bone strength, such as bone quantity (i.e. bone mineral density) and bone quality (i.e. bone turnover and bone microarchitecture), will help to provide a more comprehensive outlook on how bone responds to these various phytonutrients. Moreover, future trials that combine these phytonutrients with established bone nutrients (i.e. calcium and vitamin D) are needed to determine whether combined strategies can produce more robust effects on skeletal health.
© 2012 The Authors. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology © 2012 The British Pharmacological Society.