Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: April 16, 2018
If you’ve been told that you need to increase your spinal bone density, or you just want to ensure your back stays healthy as you age, new research says you’ll want to increase your daily consumption of dairy foods.
The research, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, says that many older adults are told to consider adding a Vitamin D supplement to aid in bone development. However, the research says individuals may be better served by also increasing their daily dairy intake.
“Older adults tend to be deficient in Vitamin D as recommended intakes are difficult to achieve without fortified foods or supplements. However, it is unclear if the effect of Vitamin D on calcium absorption is substantial enough to translate into beneficial effects on the bone,” said study co-author Dr. Shivani Sahni, an assistant professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Therefore, in the current study we wanted to determine the association of dairy food intake with bone health and whether these associations would be modified by Vitamin D status.
Vitamin D and Spine Health
For their study, researchers analyzed the dairy consumption habits and bone mineral density of more than 2,600 adults between the ages of 32 and 81. After looking at the data, researchers uncovered that men with higher reported levels of dairy food intake, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, had a higher average bone mineral density and vertebral strength of the spine compared to those who didn’t consume as much dairy, regardless of whether they also took a Vitamin D supplement or not.
Although they could not find the same association in women, it is important to note that simply taking a Vitamin D supplement may not be enough to ensure you have optimal spinal bone density well into your wonder years. The Center For Nutrition Policy and Promotion recommends that Americans consume between 2-3 servings of dairy products every day, but for senior citizens, they should always strive for those three servings. Not only can improved calcium intake improve your bone density, but it can also prevent against other age-related injuries, like falls.
“The recommendation from the Institute of Medicine for dairy food intake is 3 servings per day, which would provide the essential bone beneficial nutrients such as calcium, Vitamin D, protein and phosphorus,” researchers wrote. “Nutrition studies have shown that higher intake of calcium, Vitamin D, protein and specific antioxidants such as Vitamin C and caretenoids are linked with better bone measures and reduced fracture risk.”
If you need help developing a nutritional plan to optimize your spinal bone strength and density, reach out to a spine specialist like Dr. Sinicropi for more information. We’d be glad to help!