Protein, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, vitamin C and overall healthy dietary habits proved crucial to bone health in studies discussed at annual LOPS and Nestlé Beirut conference
Dubai, UAE - 24 November 2009: The Lebanese Osteoporosis Prevention Society (LOPS) in collaboration with nutrition, health and wellness leader Nestlé as part of their regional “Nestlé Strong & Healthy Bones” awareness initiative, highlighted new research showcasing the role of a healthy diet -- not only calcium and vitamin D -- in building and maintaining strong and healthy bones; which is crucial to preventing Osteoporosis later in life.
The studies were presented in this year’s “Musculoskeletal Diseases and Fragility Fractures” regional congress, held on 21 and 22 November in Beirut and attended by bone health professionals and experts from different parts of the Arab world.
Raising concerns over studies showing vitamin D deficiencies to be rampant across the world and in the Middle East, Dr. Ghassan Maalouf, former LOPS President and head of the Bone and Joint Decade Lebanon chapter, stressed that “in addition to fracture and fall prevention, optimization of vitamin D levels and ensuring a balanced diet can prevent Osteoporosis from occurring altogether.”
“In Lebanon for example, several studies have shown a surprisingly high incidence of vitamin D deficiency,” Maalouf added. “Knowing that all it takes to get your vitamin D requirements is to expose the hands and face to the sun 15-20 minutes three times a week.”
“In addition to diet and sun exposure, moderate regular physical activity - 30 minutes most days of the week - is also essential for strengthening and maintaining bone health throughout life,” he added.
The body needs vitamin D to absorb and deposit calcium, the main mineral needed to avoid Osteoporosis ailments. Mainly found in milk and dairy foods, calcium is the most prevalent mineral in the body where 99% of it resides in bones. The remaining 1% is found throughout the body where it functions to support such activities as muscle contraction and heartbeat. Should the body lack calcium to perform those additional functions, it would use the bone calcium reserve to compensate, eventually weakening the bones and leading to osteoporosis.
"Today it is clearer than ever that a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D across the lifespan is vital for building bone mass, and we now also know that consuming a number of other specific nutrients including protein, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc and vitamin C through fortified foods helps deposit calcium in bones,” said Huda Maamari, Head of Nutrition at Beirut’s Hotel Dieu de France Hospital.
In further stressing the benefits of dietary habits over supplements, Maamari referred to new studies, specifically to a quote from Dr. Reina Armamento-Villareal of the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO who said at a recent US conference "we found that people who take a calcium rich diet (…) have better bone density than those who take supplements alone."
To help deposit calcium in bones, the nutrients mentioned other than vitamin D have been found to have the following functions: Protein helps increase bone density; Vitamin C enhances calcium absorption and vitamin D’s effect on bone; Phosphorous combines with calcium to strengthen bone structure; Magnesium improves bone strength and firmness; and Zinc supports bone structure.
Based on all earlier mentioned research, CALCILOCK -the combination of all bone nutrients- has been developed at the Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland and added as a fortification to adult milk Nestlé NESVITA® pro-Bones for strong and healthy bones.
Following an active lifestyle and a balanced diet as per the food guide pyramid will ensure all the nutrients for overall healthy and strong bones. These need to include 3 servings of fortified adult milk & dairy; 6 serving of grains; 4-5 servings of vegetables; 3 servings of fruit; and 2-3 servings of meat and legumes.
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