Dairy products, yogurts, and bone health

Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 May;99(5 Suppl):1256S-62S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.073056. Epub 2014 Apr 2.


Fracture risk is determined by bone mass, geometry, and microstructure, which result from peak bone mass (the amount attained at the end of pubertal growth) and from the amount of bone lost subsequently. Nutritional intakes are an important environmental factor that influence both bone mass accumulation during childhood and adolescence and bone loss that occurs in later life. Bone growth is influenced by dietary intake, particularly of calcium and protein. Adequate dietary calcium and protein are essential to achieve optimal peak bone mass during skeletal growth and to prevent bone loss in the elderly. Dairy products are rich in nutrients that are essential for good bone health, including calcium, protein, vitamin D, potassium, phosphorus, and other micronutrients and macronutrients. Studies supporting the beneficial effects of milk or dairy products on bone health show a significant inverse association between dairy food intake and bone turnover markers and a positive association with bone mineral content. Fortified dairy products induce more favorable changes in biochemical indexes of bone metabolism than does calcium supplementation alone. The associations between the consumption of dairy products and the risk of hip fracture are less well established, although yogurt intake shows a weakly positive protective trend for hip fracture. By consuming 3 servings of dairy products per day, the recommended daily intakes of nutrients essential for good bone health may be readily achieved. Dairy products could therefore improve bone health and reduce the risk of fractures in later life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Bone Density / physiology
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Dairy Products*
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Fermentation
  • Fractures, Bone / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Phosphorus / administration & dosage
  • Potassium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Yogurt*


  • Amino Acids
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Micronutrients
  • Potassium, Dietary
  • Vitamin D
  • Phosphorus
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I