Dairy does not protect against bone loss during menopause transition

Lifestyle

Dairy intake is not associated with improvements in bone mineral density or risk for fractures in women transitioning to menopause, according to a study recently published in Menopause.

Taylor C. Wallace, Ph.D., from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and colleagues used data from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation to estimate the change in lumbar spine and femoral neck bone mineral density and the risk for bone fracture by the frequency of dairy intakes among women across the menopausal transition. Total dairy food consumption was categorized by servings per day: <0.5, 0.5 to <1.5, 1.5 to <2.5, and ≥2.5 servings/day.

The researchers observed no significant differences in bone mineral density change, regardless of baseline menopausal status. Similarly, there were no significant differences in the risk for nontraumatic fracture. Findings were consistent regardless of method used to classify dairy intake or when adjusting for hormone use.

“This study adds to the existing, albeit inconsistent, data suggesting a lack of benefit from dairy intake on bone mineral density and fracture risk,” Stephanie Faubion, M.D., medical director of the North American Menopause Society, said in a statement. “However, there are many other health benefits of a Mediterranean-type diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as lean protein such as fish and low-fat dairy. In addition, regular weight-bearing exercise, such as walking or jogging, can help maintain bone strength, and activities that improve strength and balance, such as yoga and tai chi, may help prevent falls.”