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Susan Brady, MPT
How Much Protein Do Our Bones Need? The Answer May Surprise You
Nurtured Bones
. https://nurturedbones.com/

How Much Protein Do Our Bones Need? The Answer May Surprise You

There has been controversy as to whether protein is detrimental to bone health. Early research suggested high protein diets cause an increase of calcium excretion in urine. It was assumed that the increase in urine calcium was due to calcium loss from the bones, suggesting that high protein diets were detrimental to bone health.  It was then determined that increased dietary protein was accompanied by a significant rise in calcium absorption in the intestines, negating the excretion in the urine.  The latest research suggests that protein is critical to maintaining both bone mass, along with lean muscle mass, as we age.  So how much protein do we need?

Beneficial effects of protein:

• Supplies amino acids needed to make bone collagen.

• Increases production of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which increases bone formation.

• Decreases serum parathyroid hormone (PTH).  An increase in serum PTH causes the bones to release calcium into the blood stream.

• Protein is also essential for maintaining lean muscle mass as we age.

Low protein intake is often observed in patients with hip fractures. Intervention studies indicate that following orthopedic management, protein supplementations attenuate post-fracture bone loss, increase muscle strength, and reduces medical complications and rehabilitation hospital stays.

The amount of protein that each person needs depends on age, body weight, disease state and activity level. While the conservative approach of the RDA has been used for years to prevent deficiency, there is mounting evidence that protein intakes need to be higher to be optimal, especially as you get older.

A recent study in the journal Nutrients suggests a daily intake of 1 to 1.3 grams (g) of protein per kilogram of body weight for older adults, the higher amounts in people who do resistance training. For example, a 175-pound man would need about 79 g to 103 g a day. If possible, divide your protein equally among your daily meals.

Incorporating protein into your diet:

• Mix of animal and plant sources of protein.

• Consume protein divided among 3 meals.

• Add calcium to your diet.  Calcium and protein interact to positively affect bone health.

• Conjunctively eat fruits and vegetables to offset concerns of potential acid production.

Protein foods group includes all foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, natural soy products, nuts, and seeds. Select a variety of protein foods to ensure a full complement of all nutrients and health benefits.

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