Diet, nutrition, and bone health.
Osteoporosis is a debilitating disease that affects many older people. Fragility fractures are the hallmark of osteoporosis. Although nutrition is only 1 of many factors that influence bone mass and fragility fractures, there is an urgent need to develop and implement nutritional approaches and policies for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis that could, with time, offer a foundation for population-based preventive strategies. However, to develop efficient and precocious strategies in the prevention of osteoporosis, it is important to determine which modifiable factors, especially nutritional factors, are able to improve bone health throughout life. There are potentially numerous nutrients and dietary components that can influence bone health, and these range from the macronutrients to micronutrients as well as bioactive food ingredients. The evidence-base to support the role of nutrients and food components in bone health ranges from very firm to scant, depending on the nutrient/component. This article initially overviews osteoporosis, including its definition, etiology, and incidence, and then provides some information on possible dietary strategies for optimizing bone health and preventing osteoporosis. The potential benefits of calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K(1), phytoestrogens, and nondigestible oligosaccharides are briefly discussed, with particular emphasis on the evidence base for their benefits to bone. It also briefly considers some of the recent findings that highlight the importance of some dietary factors for bone health in childhood and adolescence.