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Eating More Yogurt May Reduce Risk of Osteoporosis

The risk of the bone disease osteoporosis increases as we age, particularly for women. A recent study suggests that eating more yogurt may be associated with higher hip bone density and a significantly reduced risk of osteoporosis.

Participants in the study, the largest of its kind to date, included a total of 5,734 people: 1,057 women and 763 men who had bone mineral density assessments and 2,624 women and 1,290 men who had physical function measured.

The researchers collected information about yogurt consumption with a questionnaire and then split the participants into consumption categories: never, two to three times per week, and more than one serving per day. They also examined daily intake of other dairy products, meat, fish, smoking and alcohol consumption, and other risk factors for bone health. They also measured BMI, kidney function, physical activity, servings of milk or cheese, and calcium or vitamin D supplementation.

Total hip and femoral neck bone mineral density measures in women were 3.1-3.9% higher among women with the highest yogurt intakes, compared to those with the lowest. Physical function measurements were 6.7% better. Men with the highest yogurt intakes had a 9.5% lower measure of the biomarker of bone breakdown, compared with men with the lowest intakes.

Additionally, each unit increase in yogurt intake in women was associated with a 31% lower risk of osteopenia and a 39% lower risk of osteoporosis. In men, each unit increase was associated with a 52% lower risk of osteoporosis.

Researchers from Trinity College Dublin led the study. It was published online ahead of print on May 1, 2017, in Osteoporosis International.

Previous studies have shown yogurt may improve bone health, provide good bacteria for gut health, and possibly even be associated with weight loss. If you want to add more yogurt to your diet, it’s best stick with a low or no fat brand, as higher fat intake can reverse the positive health benefits.

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