Anti-Inflammatory Diet Linked To Osteoporosis Prevention

By Kristina Mancino

          The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that more than 53 millions people, in the United States, has or has the risk of developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition that affects our bones, it reduces strength which leads to a higher risk of fractured bones. It is the leading cause of fractures in postmenopausal women and the elderly. Injuries to the hip, wrist, and spine are most common with hip fractures being the most serious due to hospitalization and surgery. In previous years, it was believed to be a natural part of age but as research furthers, medical experts say it can be and should prevented.

         A new study lead by Tonya Orchard, an assistant professor of human nutrition at the Ohio State University, found a link between nutrition and osteoporosis. The study was published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Density. Orchard and her team investigated data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WIH), the largest health study of postmenopausal women, was used to compared levels of inflammatory nutrients in the diet with bone mineral density (BMD) level and fracture incidence. Loss of bone mass can happen to anyone, postmenopausal women have higher risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. The study wanted conducted to see if there were benefits to maintaining an anti-inflammatory diet.

         From the longitudinal study, conducted between 1993 and 1998, researchers used the dietary inflammatory index (DII) comparing the measurements with the risk of fractures in the hip, lower-arm, or other fractures. To assist the changes in BMD and DII, food frequency questionnaires were given to 160,191 women, average aged 63, reported they did not have a history of hip fractures at the beginning of the study. For 6 years the women were studied, of the BMD data 10,290 women collected fraction data. Orchard used Cox models to calculate fracture hazard rations and adjust for age, race, ethnicity, and other variables.

          The study found that highly inflammatory diets were linked to fractures, but only in those of younger Caucasian women. Results in women under the age of 63 also found correlations of low-inflammatory diets and its benefits in helping young Caucasian to lowering the risk of osteoporosis and the prevention of loss of bone mass. White women, 63 years old and younger, with a higher DII score had a 50 percent higher risk of hip fractures. Women who had a lower inflammatory diet overall had lower bone density. As mentioned above, it’s suggested that a high quality, anti-inflammatory diet can prevent and lower risks of osteoporosis. A list of foods that support an anti-inflammatory diet include: fruit, vegetables, fish, whole grains, and nuts.

“[Our study] suggests that as women age, healthy diets are impacting their bones. I think this give us yet another reason to support the recommendations for a healthy diet in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.” – Tonya Orchard

The study’s senior author and director of Ohio State’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science, Rebecca Jackson, says the study confirms previous studies of inflammatory factors and how they increase the risk of osteoporosis.

“By looking at the full diet rather than individual nutrients, these data provide a foundation for studying how components of the diet might interact to provide benefit and better inform women’s health and lifestyle choices,” Jackson says.