Mediterranean Diet Slows Bone Loss in People With Osteoporosis

A study of the Mediterranean diet showed it had some beneficial effect on bone health for people with osteoporosis, but had no effect otherwise.

A study of the Mediterranean diet showed it had some beneficial effect on bone health for people with osteoporosis, but had no effect otherwise.

The study of 1294 elderly participants in 5 European medical centers found that eating a Mediterranean diet, along with a vitamin D supplement, slowed the loss of bone in the neck, but not in the spine or as a whole.

The study measured bone mineral density (BMD) and biomarkers of bone and collagen degradation in a 1-year multicenter randomized controlled trial in elderly Europeans. Participants in the intervention group consumed the diet for 1 year. They also received individually tailored dietary advice. Foods included olive oil, whole grain pasta, and a vitamin D3 supplement. Participants in the control group were provided with leaflets on healthy eating The mean age of the participants was about 71 years of age; 44% were male.

Eating a Mediterranean-like dietary pattern had no effect on BMD.

There was also no effect of the intervention on the urinary biomarkers free pyridinoline or free deoxypyridinoline. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D significantly increased and parathyroid hormone decreased (P <.001) in those eating the diet compared with the control group.

Subgroup analysis of individuals with osteoporosis at baseline (site-specific BMD T-score ≤ −2.5 SD) showed that the diet slowed the expected decline in femoral neck BMD (n = 24 and n = 30 in the diet and control groups, respectively; P = 0.04) but had no effect on lumbar spine or whole-body BMD.

This was one of the longest studies examining the effect of the Mediterranean diet on BMD. Researchers found there were no beneficial changes in BMD in individuals with normal BMD at baseline. However, it significantly reduced the rate of loss of bone at the femoral neck in individuals with osteoporosis.

Reference

Jennings A, Cashman KD, Gillings R. A Mediterranean-like dietary pattern with vitamin D3 (10 µg/d) supplements reduced the rate of bone loss in older Europeans with osteoporosis at baseline: results of a 1-y randomized controlled trial. [published online July 11, 2018]. Amer J Clin Nutr doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy122.