Is Protein Good For Osteoporosis

Protein Does Not Cause Osteoporosis

Paul Mason9: High-protein diet is essential to reverse osteoporosis. Protein is good for your bones!

Some people believe that a high protein intake can contribute to osteoporosis.

The theory is that protein increases the acid load of your body, which then causes the body to take calcium out of the bones to neutralize the acid .

Even though there are some studies showing increased short-term calcium excretion, this effect does not persist over the long term .

In fact, longer-term studies do not support this idea. In one 9-week study, replacing carbohydrates with meat did not affect calcium excretion and improved some hormones known to promote bone health, like IGF-1 .

A review published in 2017 concluded that increased protein intake does not harm the bones. If anything, the evidence pointed to a higher protein intake improving bone health .

Multiple other studies show that a higher protein intake is a good thing when it comes to your bone health.

For example, it may improve your bone density and lower the risk of fractures. It also increases IGF-1 and lean mass, both known to promote bone health .

There are plenty of other potentially helpful nutritional strategies. If you want to learn more, check out this article on 10 natural ways to build healthy bones.


Long-term studies show that a high protein intake may improve your bone health. It does not cause osteoporosis.

How Much Protein Do I Need

Consuming adequate amounts of protein enhances the likelihood that you will have strong bones later in life. Teenage girls and women require about 46 grams of protein each day, which is equivalent to five ounces of a protein food each day. Pregnant women need more protein than other people 71 grams or approximately eight ounces of a protein food is needed each day during pregnancy.

Protein should account for between 1035% percent of your caloric intake daily. If you engage in regular moderate to vigorous exercise for more than 30 minutes each day, you may need to ingest more than this.

Does Protein Help With Osteoporosis

Is protein helpful for bone health? Many researchers disagree, but the evidence points in one direction: high protein intake can be beneficial. According to a 2014 study, a woman with osteoporosis who ate 25 grams of protein three times a day reduced her risk of fracture by 27 percent. A balanced diet is not associated with altered bone strength, fragility fractures, or osteoporosis progression, according to this expert consensus.

However, researchers have found a positive correlation between high protein intake and osteoporotic fractures in postmenopausal women. This study looked at the association between total protein, animal protein, and vegetable protein. The case-control study was conducted in Spain, where protein intake was similar between women and men. The control group was also high in protein. This suggested that the positive relationship between protein intake and osteoporosis is not real, but it is worth investigating.10

The same study found no correlation between high protein intake and osteoporosis. It found no differences in urinary N-telopeptide levels or serum osteocalcin among the groups. The higher the protein intake, the lower the risk of developing the disease. But reverse causation may also exist. Regardless, the research supports the fact that higher protein intake is beneficial for long-term bone health.

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Protein Intake And Kidney Damage

The kidneys are remarkable organs that filter waste compounds, excess nutrients and liquids out of the bloodstream, producing urine.

Some say that your kidneys need to work hard to clear the metabolites of protein from your body, leading to increased strain on the kidneys.

Adding some more protein to your diet may increase their workload a little, but this increase is quite insignificant compared to the immense amount of work your kidneys already do.

About 20% of the blood your heart pumps through your body goes to the kidneys. In an adult, the kidneys may filter around 48 gallons of blood every single day.

High protein intake may cause harm in people with diagnosed kidney disease, but the same doesnt apply to people with healthy kidneys (

18 ).

In conclusion, there is no evidence that a high protein intake harms kidney function in people who dont have kidney disease.

On the contrary, it has plenty of health benefits and may even help you lose weight .


A high protein intake has been shown to accelerate kidney damage in people who have kidney disease. However, higher protein diets dont adversely affect kidney function in healthy people.

Many Experts No Longer Believe That Intake Of Dietary Protein Has A Negative Impact On Bone Health

Calcium Rich Food

A growing body of research has explored the role of dietary protein on bone health in adults.1 For example, a recent study by Durosier-Izart and colleagues found a beneficial effect of animal protein and dairy protein on bone strength and bone microstructure in a population of postmenopausal women, an association that had not been previously established.2 This renewed attention to the role of dietary protein in the mature skeleton has been spurred in part by a search for nonpharmacologic approaches to maintaining strong and healthy bones during adulthood.1

Take Note

  • Based on studies observing increased calcium in the urine of people who ate more protein, experts hypothesized that protein increased the acidity of blood and that calcium was recruited from bone to lower this acidity.
  • Recent research challenges this notion, showing that dietary intake of protein does not have a negative impact on bone health.
  • Consuming protein at levels higher than the Recommended Dietary Allowance does not have an adverse effect on bone and may even, in some cases, improve bone density.

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Osteoporosis Diet: Top 5 Foods For Bone Health

As you age, maintaining a healthy, balanced diet full of nutrients is a critical part of body and bone health. Certain foods and supplements can help you prevent osteoporosis, along with a plethora of other health benefits. Boosting your diet with vitamin-rich foods will help you look and feel your best.

Animal Protein Vs Vegetable Protein

However, a 2001 study published in the same journal served as a reminder of the difference between animal protein and plant protein with regards to the risk of osteoporotic bone fractures.

In a study involving 1,035 postmenopausal women over the age of 65 years, the researchers correlated protein intake data with X-ray measurements of bone mineral density.

The results of the study showed that the women who took more vegetable proteins than animal proteins had significantly lower risks of bone loss in their femurs and also reduced risk of hip fractures than the women who consumed more animal proteins than vegetable proteins.

This study provides support for the view that vegetable proteins produce lesser acid load on the body and also provide minerals that can protect the bone from calcium loss.

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The Negative Effects Of Protein On Bone Health And How To Counter Them

Beginning 20 years ago, numerous studies were published on how consuming animal or vegetable protein affects bone composition. Many studies found that animal-based protein made bones less sturdy than plant-based protein. Some studies found that there was more osteoporosis and fractures in people who ate a lot of meat.

Healthy bones maintain a constant balance between how much old bone is broken down to be reabsorbed and how much new bone is built . Most people know that calcium and vitamin D are important for building and maintaining healthy bones. However, based on earlier research, a hypothesis grew that protein affected the bodys natural chemistry in such a way that too much calcium was being excreted in urine.

What Are Other Ways To Prevent Osteoporosis

Dietary Protein & Bone Health

Your diet is not the only way to prevent osteoporosis and encourage strong bones. Certain supplements can increase your vitamin consumption and make sure you are getting the recommended daily amounts. Read more about the recommended supplements and how they can aid in osteoporosis prevention.

Osteoporosis has a strong genetic component, and even those with a robust bone health diet can still be susceptible to developing the condition. It is important to elect for bone density scans, also known as DEXA scans, to analyze your bone structure and watch for any decrease in density. Find out more about how DEXA scans work and how often you should receive them by reading our blog.

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Proteins Bone Resorption And Bone Formation

Researchers from the University of California and Western Human Nutrition Research Center collaborated for a 10-month study to determine the effect of plant protein and animal protein on bone growth.

For their study, they recruited 48 healthy women aged 18 â 40 years. Over the course of the study, some of the participants ate only plant foods while the others ate plant and animal foods . By taking blood and urine samples, the researchers measured the different markers of bone health.

The results of the study showed that

  • the vegans ate less protein than the omnivores
  • renal acid excretion and urinary calcium loss were higher among the omnivores than vegans
  • the extent of bone resorption was the same in both groups
  • bone formation was significantly lesser among the omnivores than the vegans even though the omnivores had higher calcium intake

This study provides an alternative view of the effect of protein consumption on the bone. It demonstrated that animal proteins raised blood acid levels and increased calcium loss more than plant proteins.

However, the study also indicates that animal proteins increase the risk of osteoporosis not because they promote calcium loss from the bones but because they reduce the formation new bones.

Even though this study suggests that animal proteins do not increase bone calcium loss from bones, it is important to note that what the results show is that animal proteins do not increase calcium loss from bones any more than plant proteins.

Osteoporosis Diet Danger : The Cost Of Caffeine

Caffeine leaches calcium from bones, sapping their strength.

“You lose about 6 milligrams of calcium for every 100 milligrams of caffeine ingested,” Massey says.

That’s not as much of a loss as salt, but it’s worrisome, nonetheless. Caffeine is a particular problem when a woman doesnât get enough calcium each day to begin with.

The good news is that limiting caffeine intake to 300 milligrams a day while getting adequate calcium probably offsets any losses caffeine causes, Massey says.

Coffee is a major caffeine source. For example, a 16-ounce cup of coffee can provide 320 milligrams. High-caffeine sodas can contain up to 80 milligrams per can or more.

Although tea also contains caffeine, studies suggest it does not harm, and probably helps, bone density in older women, regardless of whether they add milk to the beverage. Researchers think that tea contains plant compounds that protect bone.

Ready to curb caffeine? Here are some tips:

  • Wean yourself from coffee by drinking half regular and half-decaf drinks to start
  • Avoid caffeine-laden drinks
  • Reach for decaffeinated iced tea or hot tea
  • Splurge on a decaf, fat-free latte drink and get 450 milligrams of calcium in the bargain

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Animal Protein Vs Vegetarian Protein

Animal protein has a couple of advantages over vegetarian protein.

First off, if you look at the amount of protein per gram, animal protein wins out. In general, vegetarian protein sources fall a short of the protein content animal sources offer so you need to eat more calories with plant proteins which can be an issue if youre concerned about controlling body fat.

Second, all animal protein sources are considered complete proteins. That means they provide all eight essential amino acids you need to get from your diet. On the other hand, vegetarian proteins are typically incomplete, meaning they lack one or two of essential amino acids.

Of course, thats not to say you cant fulfill your protein needs through vegetarian sources. Its just a little trickier to do!

If youre a vegetarian or vegan, the key is to consume a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes to ensure you get all the essential amino acids. For a more in-depth look at vegetarian protein, visit our Vegetarians Guide to Protein and Collagen.

Its also worth noting that whenever possible, its best to choose grass-fed, wild-caught, and organic protein sources to minimize your exposure to pesticides and other chemicals. Thats because these chemicals can cause bone-damaging inflammation.

Rather, research suggests the best course of action for your bones is to get a balance of both animal and vegetarian proteins!

The Effect Of Protein Supplementation On Bone Health In Healthy Older Men And Women

Diagnosis Detective Case File: Osteoporosis  Diagnosis ...
The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
First Posted : January 12, 2007Results First Posted : August 28, 2013Last Update Posted : April 9, 2020
Condition or disease
Dietary Supplement: Whey protein supplementDietary Supplement: PlaceboPhase 1Phase 2

Dietary protein plays an important role in maintaining balanced calcium levels in the body. Protein’s impact on skeletal health remains unclear. It is well accepted that increasing dietary protein results in greater excretion of calcium through urine. The excreted calcium is thought to come in part from bone, which would suggest a negative effect on bone health. However, recent studies have found that higher protein intake is, in fact, associated with higher bone mineral density and lower rates of bone loss. The purpose of this study is to determine if a daily protein supplement will improve bone health and hormonal measures of bone metabolism among healthy older men and women who consume low-to-normal levels of dietary protein.

Layout table for study information

Study Type :
Impact of a Protein Supplement on Bone Mass in Older Men and Women
Study Start Date :

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Meat And Other High Protein Foods

Its important to get enough, but not too much protein for bone health and overall health. Many older adults do not get enough protein in their diets and this may be harmful to bones. However, special high protein diets that contain multiple servings of meat and protein with each meal can also cause the body to lose calcium. You can make up for this loss by getting enough calcium for your bodys needs. For example dairy products, although high in protein, also contain calcium that is important for healthy bones.

Protein And Bone Health Takeaways

Dont shy away from protein.

Protein is a crucial component of every cell in your body. You need it to repair and build tissues, and its a key building block for cartilage, blood, skin, muscles, and bones. In fact, the latest expert consensus stresses the importance of protein for strong, healthy bones!

Dont be afraid of animal protein either. After all, the acid-ash hypothesis is unsupported by science, so including high-quality animal protein as part of a balanced diet wont hurt your bones.

But no matter your diet or lifestyle, there are plenty of protein options for you! Just remember to think about what you dont want from protein too

Pesticides, herbicides, hormones, antibiotics, and preservatives wont benefit you or your bones. So make sure you choose high-quality, organic, grass-fed, and wild-caught options whenever possible.

Have any recipes or tips to add more protein to your diet? Share them with us in the comments below!

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Protein And Osteoporosis: The Bottom Line

Eating a wide variety of protein-containing foods throughout your lifespan can help your bones to remain strong. Consuming most or all of your protein from plant sources offers multiple benefits for your bones and general level of wellness.

Consult with your health care provider for specific recommendations regarding the amount of protein which you should consume each day.

Dont Forget Vitamin D

Protein & Bone Health

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and use it to strengthen yourbones. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, your liver and kidneys areresponsible for making vitamin D. However, most of us cant rely solely onthe sun to get our daily dosage for many reasons: indoor living, sunscreen,skin tone, seasonal changes, etc. Non-fortified foods are also limited invitamin D.

Your goal should be:

  • 600 international units of vitamin D per day if you are 70 or younger
  • 800 IU if you are 71 or older

Because many women dont hit the recommended dosage of vitamin D throughsun exposure and diet, supplements may be needed to meet this goal.

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What Are The Key Facts About Osteoporosis

  • Osteoporosis is a medical condition that causes loss of bone density. As a result, the risk of fractures increases. The most common osteoporotic fractures are the ones located in the spine.
  • Osteoporosis occurs more commonly in women after the period of menopause due to the decreased estrogen and progesterone levels in the body.
  • Patients with osteoporosis do not experience any symptoms until a fracture occurs.
  • Risk factors for Osteoporosis include smoking, excessive alcohol intake, sedentary life, low body weight, family history of osteoporosis etc.
  • Osteoporosis is diagnosed with the use of X-rays and tests that measure the bone density.
  • The treatment for osteoporosis includes medications, calcium and vitamin D supplements, regular exercise, and dietary changes.

Fight Osteoporosis: The Best Foods Diet And 5 Natural Treatments

Osteoporosis causes brittle bones and poor bone health. Improving bone and joint health means finding out the perfect osteoporosis foods and diet as well as natural treatments and side effect free joint health supplements. Reducing inflammation helps.

7 minute read

    May is National Osteoporosis Month, an important time to raise awareness for the millions of people suffering from osteoporosis in the U.S. This common bone-weakening disease causes fractures and damage, and due to its gradual onset, people often don’t realize they have it.

    The good news is that, even though there is no definitive cure, you can follow an osteoporosis diet and natural treatments to ease pain and improve bone health.

    Osteoporosis is a condition that causes your bones to become fragile, increasing the chances of bone fractures and breaks. Small holes form within bones, weakening them from the inside and causing pain.

    One in two women is affected, although anybody can develop the disease.

    The main causes are thought to be inactivity, aging, hormonal imbalances, emotional stress, low vitamin D levels, chronic inflammation, and long term use of certain medications.

    Typically medications are prescribed to control pain, but there is no cure. In most cases, doctors will advise you to try weight-bearing exercises to strengthen your bones or a healthy osteoporosis diet.

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