A recent study in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research has found a connection between flavonoids and bone health. Flavonoids are a group of bioactive chemicals found synthesized by plants. Over 3000 Scottish women were surveyed on their food intakes and flavonoid intake was estimated based on specific fruit and vegetable intake as evaluated on a food frequency questionnaire.
The investigators found a greater the intake of flavonoids correlated with a greater bone mineral density at both the femoral neck and lumbar spine. Markers of bone resorption were also measured and found to be inversely related to flavonoid intake.
The authors concluded that flavonoid intake from fruits and vegetables increases bone mineral density and decrease bone resorption.
These results are consistent with previous in vitro and animal studies which have found that isoflavones, a class of flavonoids, stimulate bone formation by stimulating osteoblasts and inhibit bone resorption, by inhibiting osteoclasts.
Although the study results are encouraging, the investigators did not evaluate fracture risk. Clinical trials evaluating flavonoid intake and fracture risk will help determine if flavonoids can prevent fractures.
Hardcastle AC, Aucott L, Reid DM, Macdonald HM. Associations between dietary flavonoid intakes and bone health in a Scottish population. J Bone Miner Res. 2011 May;26(5):941-7. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.285.
More information on stress fractures.
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