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Back to Bone Health and Osteoporosis

Synopsis: Bone Health and Osteoporosis

Bone health is important for overall health and quality of life and is dependent on bone mass, bone architecture and body mechanics.1,2 Optimal bone health status is crucial to prevent osteoporosis, which is a disease characterized by low bone mass and bone microarchitectural deterioration, leading to bone fragility and an increased risk of fracture.2,3


According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation’s position statement, calcium, vitamin D and milk product consumption are key factors for achieving peak bone mass in young adulthood, which is an important predictor of osteoporosis and fractures later in life.4

Milk products may be preferable to calcium and/or vitamin D supplements because they contain many other nutrients that are also important for bone health, including phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B12.2 Furthermore, evidence suggests that milk products may be more effective than calcium and/or vitamin D supplements in maintaining bone health.3

Additionally, the consumption of milk products represents a valuable way to obtain adequate calcium and vitamin D intake without the possible adverse effects of supplements.3,5

The potential mechanisms by which milk products may have a beneficial impact on bone health remain to be fully clarified, but several studies have identified mechanisms related to calcium and vitamin D. These two nutrients have been shown to play a role in offsetting obligatory losses of calcium, reducing excessive bone remodelling or turnover, and improving antifracture efficacy.6

Looking for key evidence-based information about bone health, calcium, and milk products? Discover our factsheet for health professionals.


  1. Office of the Surgeon General (US). Bone health and osteoporosis: a report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: Office of the Surgeon General (US), 2004.
  2. Heaney RP. Dairy and bone healthJ Am Coll Nutr 2009;28:82S-90S.
  3. Caroli A et al. Invited review: dairy intake and bone health: a viewpoint from the state of the artJ Dairy Sci 2011;94:5249-5262.
  4. Weaver CM et al. The National Osteoporosis Foundation's position statement on peak bone mass development and lifestyle factors: a systematic review and implementation recommendationsOsteoporos Int 2016;27:1281-1386.
  5. Osteoporosis Canada. 2016. How do I know if I need a calcium supplement? Accessed July 18, 2016.
  6. Heaney RP. Bone healthAm J Clin Nutr 2007;85:300S-303S.

Keywords: bone health , osteoporosis

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