, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 86-93

Diet, bone mass, and osteocalcin: A cross-sectional study

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Abstract

To determine the relationships among nutrient intake, bone mass, and bone turnover in women we have investigated these issues in a population-based, crosssectional, observational study in one county in central Sweden. A total of 175 women aged 28–74 at entry to the study were included. Dietary assessment was made by both a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire and by four 1-week dietary records. Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry was performed at five sites: total body, L2–L4 region of the lumbar spine, and three regions of the proximal femur. Serum concentrations of osteocalcin (an osteoblast-specific protein reflecting bone turnover) were measured by a radioimmunoassay. Linear regression models, with adjustment for possible confounding factors, were used for statistical analyses. A weak positive association was found between dietary calcium intake as calculated from the semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire and total body bone mineral density (BMD) among premenopausal women. No association emerged between dietary calcium intake and sitespecific bone mass, i.e., lumbar spine and femoral neck, nor was an association found between dietary calcium intake and serum osteocalcin. BMD at some of the measured sites was positively associated with protein and carbohydrates and negatively associated with dietary fat. In no previous studies of diet and bone mass have dietary habits been ascertained so carefully and the results adjusted for possible confounding factors. Neither of the two methods of dietary assessment used in this study revealed any effect of calcium intake on BMD at fracture-relevant sites among these healthy, mostly middle-aged women. A weak positive association was found between calcium intake estimates based on the food frequency questionnaire and total body BMD. In this study population the preventive effect of high dietary calcium on osteoporosis is probably very weak. The independent significance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat is uncertain.