Last month, researchers at Trinity College Dublin released the findings of the largest observational study to date on yogurt consumption and bone health. After tracking 4,300 adults over the age of 60, the Dublin researchers concluded that eating yogurt daily could lead to stronger bones. Participants’ bone density and joint deterioration was measured with X-rays and MRIs and their physical ability was tested.
Other dairy products did not produce the same effect as the yogurt.
After adjusting for age, smoking, alcohol, physical activity, meat, fish, cheese and milk consumption, as well as Vitamin A and D supplements, the researchers found a 3-4 % increase in bone mineral density of the daily yogurt eaters, compared with those who did not eat yogurt. Osteoporosis risk was 38% lower in women and 59% lower in men when daily yogurt was consumed.
Noting that yogurt contains micronutrients and probiotics as well as Vitamin D, B vitamins, and calcium, the lead author, Dr. Eamon Laird, said that “it is not surprising given that yogurt is a rich source of bone-producing nutrients.”
The Study is reported in Osteoporosis International. This was not a cause and effect study. Dr. Miriam Casey, the senior investigator, stated that what is now needed is randomized controlled trials to understand how this mechanism occurs. Yogurt is a relatively inexpensive and simple food product and its significant association with improved bone health warrants verification.