Hypothesis: Animal Protein Associated with Hip Fracture – 1992


Cross-cultural association between dietary animal protein and hip fracture: a hypothesis.

Age-adjusted female hip fracture incidence has been noted to be higher in industrialized countries than in nonindustrialized countries. A possible explanation that has received little attention is that elevated metabolic acid production associated with a high animal protein diet might lead to chronic bone buffering and bone dissolution. In an attempt to examine this hypothesis, cross-cultural variations in animal protein consumption and hip fracture incidence were examined. When female fracture rates derived from 34 published studies in 16 countries were regressed against estimates of dietary animal protein, a strong, positive association was found. This association could not plausibly be explained by either dietary calcium or total caloric intake. Recent studies suggest that the animal protein-hip fracture association could have a biologically tenable basis. We conclude that further study of the metabolic acid-osteoporosis hypothesis is warranted.

Abelow BJ, Holford TR, Insogna KL
Calcif. Tissue Int. Jan 1992
PMID: 1739864

This study from 1992 was one of the earlier proposals that animal protein may cause osteoporosis. The hypothesis has since been discredited.