Older adults should eat diary and exercise to decrease risk of bone and muscle loss

Combining four nutrients found in diary products with regular exercise can help ward off muscle wasting and bone disease, according to researchers in Switzerland, France and North America.

Calcium, inorganic phosphate, vitamin D and protein interact together with physical activity to maintain healthy muscles and bones, say the experts in an article published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition


“While bone health is often associated with calcium alone, Calcium’s interactions with inorganic phosphate, vitamin D, and protein are important components of beneficial dairy consumption,” says the article.

“Combined vitamin D and calcium supplementation has been shown to reduce the incidence of hip and other non-vertebral fractures among older populations, with some studies suggesting that vitamin D actually leads to lower rates of falling in subjects. Dietary protein, while often associated solely with muscle recovery, also promotes bone formation by stimulating both Ca and Pi intestinal absorption and the production of a bone growth factor. And while vitamin D deficiency is associated with muscle weakness, vitamin D and protein supplementation are required together to improve strength.

“Combining the four above-mentioned nutrients with physical activity decreases the likelihood of bone and muscle degeneration-related injury in older adults. Dairy products are a convenient way to work them into a diet, as they contain Ca, Pi, and protein at levels comparable to recommended intakes, and are fortified with vitamin D.”