Category Archives: Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean Diet or Nuts May Benefit Bones


Mediterranean diet and bone mineral density in two age groups of women.

We hypothesized that adherence to the Mediterranean diet measured as a Mediterranean diet score (MDS) has a beneficial effect on bone mineral density (BMD). For the purposes of this study, a sample of healthy women from Southern Spain was chosen. Subjects were grouped into two major groups: a first group consisted of women of reproductive age (premenopausal, pre-M) and a second group consisted of postmenopausal women (pos-M). The consumption of vegetables and fruit was found to be significantly related to BMD in both groups of subjects studied. In the pre-M group, the lipid ratio was positively associated with BMD and in pos-M women nuts intake was also associated with BMD. After implementing the analysis of covariance analysis, significant linear trends between the MDS and BMD were observed in all subjects studied. Our results indicate that a varied diet based on Mediterranean diet patterns may be beneficial in the prevention of osteoporosis.

Rivas A, Romero A, Mariscal-Arcas M, Monteagudo C…
Int J Food Sci Nutr Mar 2013
PMID: 22946650

Mediterranean Diet + Nuts Does Not Significantly Increase Resorption


Mediterranean diet and high dietary acid load associated with mixed nuts: effect on bone metabolism in elderly subjects.

Objectives: To analyze the effect of differing diet on the acid load content on bone metabolism.
Design: Multicentric, randomized, single-blind, parallel-group clinical trial.
Setting: Outpatient clinics.
Two hundred thirty-eight elderly men and women aged 60 to 80 at high risk for cardiovascular disease were randomly assigned to three interventional groups: a recommended low-fat diet (control diet group), a Mediterranean diet supplemented with virgin olive oil, or a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts.
Main outcomes were 12-month changes from baseline in bone formation and resorption markers and bone mass measured according to quantitative ultrasound scanning.
The baseline data on the anthropometric, bone densitometry, and biochemical variables did not differ between the three groups. Dietary potential renal acid load (PRAL) and daily net endogenous acid production (NEAP) at baseline did not differ between groups. After intervention, subjects allocated to the Mediterranean diet with mixed nuts had a significant increase of PRAL and NEAP. In comparison, subjects in the Mediterranean diet with nuts group had higher parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels (2.63, 95% confidence interval (CI)=-1.01-6.35, P=.02) and a nonsignificantly higher (0.31, 95% CI=-0.13-0.74, P=.14) urine free deoxypyridoxine:creatinine ratio, a marker of bone resorption, than the control group and the Mediterranean diet with virgin olive oil group.
A Mediterranean dietary pattern associated with a high dietary acid load derived from consumption of mixed nuts does not seem to have a much greater effect on bone metabolism biomarkers, with the exception of PTH levels, than a Mediterranean diet without mixed nuts or a control diet in elderly subjects.

Bulló M, Amigó-Correig P, Márquez-Sandoval F, Babio N…
J Am Geriatr Soc Oct 2009
PMID: 19807791

Olive Oil, but Not Nuts, May Protect Bones


A Mediterranean diet enriched with olive oil is associated with higher serum total osteocalcin levels in elderly men at high cardiovascular risk.

The intake of olive oil has been related to the prevention of osteoporosis in experimental and in in vitro models. Very few prospective studies have evaluated the effects of olive oil intake on circulating osteocalcin (OC) in humans.
The objective of the study was to examine the longitudinal effects of a low-fat control diet (n=34), a Mediterranean diet enriched with nuts (MedDiet+nuts, n=51), or a Mediterranean diet enriched with virgin olive oil (MedDiet+VOO, n=42) on circulating forms of OC and bone formation markers in elderly men at high cardiovascular risk.
Longitudinal associations between baseline and follow-up (2 yr) measurements of total OC, undercarboxylated osteocalcin, C-telopeptide of type I collagen, and procollagen I N-terminal propeptide (P1NP) concentrations were examined in 127 elderly men randomized to three healthy dietary interventions.
Baseline characteristics (age, body mass index, waist circumference, lipid profile, fasting insulin levels, and bone formation and resorption markers) were similar in all intervention groups. The total osteocalcin concentration increased robustly in the MedDiet+VOO group (P=0.007) in parallel to increased P1NP levels (P=0.01) and homeostasis model assessment-β-cell function (P=0.01) but not in subjects on the MedDiet+nuts (P=0.32) or after the control diet (P=0.74). Interestingly, the consumption of olives was associated positively with both baseline total osteocalcin (r=0.23, P=0.02) and the 2-yr osteocalcin concentrations (r=0.21, P=0.04) in the total cohort.
Consumption of a Mediterranean diet enriched with virgin olive oil for 2 years is associated with increased serum osteocalcin and P1NP concentrations, suggesting protective effects on bone.

Fernández-Real JM, Bulló M, Moreno-Navarrete JM, Ricart W…
J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. Oct 2012
PMID: 22855341

Interestingly, nuts did not show a benefit.

Olive Oil and Lower Carbs In Greece


Energy intake and monounsaturated fat in relation to bone mineral density among women and men in Greece.

Several variables have been established as risk factors for osteoporosis: it is more common among women and the gender difference increases with age and with years since menopause. Estrogens, androgens, physical activity, and body mass index have been previously shown to be positively associated with bone mineral density and inversely with risk for fractures.
To assess the effect on bone mineral content of energy-generating nutrients, healthy men (n = 36) and women (n = 118) ages 25-69 years were interviewed among visitors and staff of the University of Athens Department of Medical Physics. Bone mineral density (BMD) was measured by single photon absorptiometry.
Demographic and lifestyle variables were not significantly related to BMD in this study, although the patterns were consistent with those previously reported by other investigators. Total energy intake, which also reflects energy expenditure through physical activity, was positively associated with BMD among both men (P = 0.003) and women (P = 0.04). After adjustment for nonnutritional variables and energy intake, monounsaturated fat, which in the Greek population is mostly derived from olive oil, was associated with BMD. The association was positive among both men (P = 0.01) and women (P = 0.03). There was evidence for an inverse association between carbohydrate intake and BMD, but the association was significant only with respect to mono- and disaccharides.
In this population, consumption of monounsaturated fat and physical activity were predictive of bone mineral density, but larger studies are needed.

Trichopoulou A, Georgiou E, Bassiakos Y, Lipworth L…
Prev Med
PMID: 9144765

Review: Phytonutrients


Phytonutrients for bone health during ageing.

Osteoporosis is a skeletal disease characterized by a decrease in bone mass and bone quality that predispose an individual to an increased risk of fragility fractures. Evidence demonstrating a positive link between certain dietary patterns (e.g. Mediterranean diet or high consumption of fruits and vegetables) and bone health highlights an opportunity to investigate their potential to protect against the deterioration of bone tissue during ageing. While the list of these phytonutrients is extensive, this review summarizes evidence on some which are commonly consumed and have gained increasing attention over recent years, including lycopene and various polyphenols (e.g. polyphenols from tea, grape seed, citrus fruit, olive and dried plum). Evidence to define a clear link between these phytonutrients and bone health is currently insufficient to generate precise dietary recommendations, owing to mixed findings or a scarcity in clinical data. Moreover, their consumption typically occurs within the context of a diet consisting of a mix of phytonutrients and other nutrients rather than in isolation. Future clinical trials that can apply a robust set of outcome measurements, including the determinants of bone strength, such as bone quantity (i.e. bone mineral density) and bone quality (i.e. bone turnover and bone microarchitecture), will help to provide a more comprehensive outlook on how bone responds to these various phytonutrients. Moreover, future trials that combine these phytonutrients with established bone nutrients (i.e. calcium and vitamin D) are needed to determine whether combined strategies can produce more robust effects on skeletal health.

Sacco SM, Horcajada MN, Offord E
Br J Clin Pharmacol Mar 2013
PMID: 23384080