Getting enough protein, calcium and other micronutrients boosts bone health and lowers osteoporosis risk, reveals study

Osteoporosis remains to be one of the leading public health threats in older adults. In the U.S. alone, over 52 million people over the age of 50 suffer from this condition. While researchers have developed synthetic medications and treatments to combat the onset of this widespread disease, these have been found to do more harm than good. Recent studies suggest micronutrients such as calcium and phosphorus play a crucial role in stimulating the development of strong and healthy bones in older adults.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease that renders bones weak and prone to fractures. This condition occurs when hormones like estrogen and androgen are reduced, which naturally comes about with the aging process. People with osteoporosis have bones that are so brittle that even the slightest pressure could cause a fracture. The disease is also marked by low bone density, back pain, bad posture and loss of height over time.

Older adults are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, and women are more likely to develop it than men. The risk also doubles if a parent or sibling already has the condition. While age, sex and family history are known risk factors, osteoporosis can also be the result of poor dietary habits like low calcium intake and eating disorders. When left unchecked, poor diet leaves an individual highly vulnerable to conditions like osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes and hypertension.

Fortunately, recent studies provide evidence that supports the benefits of increased micronutrient intake to combat the onset of osteoporosis. For instance, a study published by Dr. Susan New from the University of Surrey in England found that micronutrients play a crucial role in peak bone mass attainment. Dr. New emphasized that an increased intake of micronutrients such as calcium and phosphorus greatly enhanced bone density and helped lower the risk of developing osteoporosis.


Additionally, the International Osteoporosis Foundation reveals that increasing the intake of calcium supplements, fruits and vegetables in postmenopausal women improves bone density.

Micronutrients and where to find them

These micronutrients by themselves are undoubtedly beneficial, but they work better when taken together with other micronutrients, as they yield optimal results when combined. For instance, studies suggest that calcium works best with an increased intake of protein, magnesium and vitamin D — and intake of these nutrients often declines as we age. Here are some natural sources of micronutrients:


The body needs calcium to keep bones strong. However, the body does not naturally produce this mineral. This is why adequate calcium intake should be a necessary part of every healthy diet. Besides dairy, sources of calcium include broccoli and other leafy vegetables; seeds like poppy, sesame and chia; and other sources like sardines, salmon, beans, lentils, almonds, rhubarb, spinach, kale, okra, collard greens, soybeans and figs.


Protein plays an important role in the body’s natural processes. Aside from maintaining healthy bones, muscles and tissues, protein also aids in digesting and blood circulation. Protein-rich foods include lean meat, fish, poultry, lentils, chickpeas, black beans, potatoes, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower, raw oats, legumes, hemp seeds, guava, artichokes, tomatoes, avocado, pistachios, asparagus and Brussels sprouts.


Phosphorus is one of the most important minerals found within the bone, since it’s critical for bone health and maintenance. Research on phosphorus nutrition by the Creighton University Medical Center in Nebraska links the onset of osteoporosis with low phosphorus intake. Phosphorous is abundant in the following food items: cocoa, oysters, beef liver, fish roe, tofu, scallops, clams, crab, crayfish, lentils, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, cashews, pine nuts and soy.

Good eating habits are particularly important in maintaining optimal bone health, as an adequate amount of fat and healthy bone marrow help keep fractures and bone loss at bay.

Find out more about micronutrients and their benefits at

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