High Dietary Protein Intake and Protein-Related Acid Load on Bone Health

Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2017 Dec;15(6):571-576. doi: 10.1007/s11914-017-0408-6.


Purpose of review: Consumption of high-protein diets is increasingly popular due to the benefits of protein on preserving lean mass and controlling appetite and satiety. The paper is to review recent clinical research assessing dietary protein on calcium metabolism and bone health.

Recent findings: Epidemiological studies show that long-term, high-protein intake is positively associated with bone mineral density and reduced risk of bone fracture incidence. Short-term interventional studies demonstrate that a high-protein diet does not negatively affect calcium homeostasis. Existing evidence supports that the negative effects of the acid load of protein on urinary calcium excretion are offset by the beneficial skeletal effects of high-protein intake. Future research should focus on the role and the degree of contribution of other dietary and physiological factors, such as intake of fruits and vegetables, in reducing the acid load and further enhancing the anabolic effects of protein on the musculoskeletal system.

Keywords: Acid load; Bone health; Calcium homeostasis; Dietary protein.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acids
  • Bone Density*
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Diet
  • Diet, High-Protein / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism*
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Osteoporotic Fractures / epidemiology*
  • Vegetables


  • Acids
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Calcium