Global F&V Newsletter

Diet quality and bone health


Strong bones to maintain mobility and independence While the social and economic burden of bone diseases is growing at an alarming rate, health professionals deplore the lack of prophylactic tools and the fact that less than 10% of women with fragility fractures receive any osteoporosis therapy due to several side effects. This is why they strongly advocate implementing new strategies of proven scientific and clinical value. Food has multiple assets for good compliance and research in nutrition over the past 30 years. This has led to an exciting progress supporting the hypothesis that, by modulating specific targets in the body, dietary intervention can help to achieve optimal bone health. Despite the traditional focus on calcium and vitamin D, a growing body of evidence has contributed to stress the putative bone sparing properties of a diet high in nutrient-dense foods (fruit, vegetables and whole grains), thanks to their high content in nutrients endowed with various biological properties).

This newsletter provides new insights on the extraordinary potential of fruit and vegetables for bone health. Indeed, according to the HELENA study, in adolescents, although an overall dietary score or index is not associated with bone mineral content, specific components such as fruit or nuts may contribute to a higher bone mass. In the CHANCES project, carried out in 140,775 older adults, the consortium on health and ageing (involved in the follow-up of five cohorts) highlighted the beneficial effect of a moderate or high adherence to a Mediterranean diet on the risk of fracture. More recently, a meta-analysis of 10 studies published in the literature confirmed that a higher consumption of vegetable-based diet intake was associated with a decreased incidence of osteoporosis. Modulation of the bone remodeling process, as well as improved calcium absorption and body inflammatory status could probably explain such benefits. In conclusion, we can infer from those studies that population measures to encourage fruit, vegetable and whole grain consumption provide new opportunities for health professionals and have the potential to lower the burden of fracture.