Dairy for Bone Health
Dairy for bone health
Although many factors contribute to bone health, the role of dairy as part of a healthy diet is undisputed. Milk and other dairy products are good sources of nutrients classically associated with skeletal integrity, namely protein, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D. Fermented dairy products may also contain pre- or probiotics capable of modifying intestinal calcium absorption or bone metabolism. The South African food-based dietary guideline that encourages consumers to ‘have milk, maas or yoghurt every day’ therefore has an integral role in a dietary pattern aimed at promoting lifelong bone health. The review summarises pertinent contemporary research with regard to the association between dairy intake and bone health, with specific emphasis on the role of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein. Current evidence suggests that dairy contributes to bone health by either promoting bone development or delivering key nutrients in a matrix that supports maintenance of bone tissue throughout life.