Friday, 8 May 2015

Dietary Animal and Plant Protein and Human Bone Health: A Whole Foods Approach

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Dietary Animal and Plant Protein and Human Bone Health: A Whole Foods Approach

Linda K. Massey

Urinary calcium excretion is strongly related to net renal acid excretion. The catabolism of dietary protein generates ammonium ion and sulfates from sulfur-containing amino acids. Bone citrate and carbonate are mobilized to neutralize these acids, so urinary calcium increases when dietary protein increases. Common plant proteins such as soy, corn, wheat and rice have similar total S per g of protein as eggs, milk and muscle from meat, poultry and fish. Therefore increasing intake of purified proteins from either animal or plant sources similarly increases urinary calcium. The effects of a protein on urinary calcium and bone metabolism are modified by other nutrients found in that protein food source.

For example, the high amount of calcium in milk compensates for urinary calcium losses generated by milk protein. Similarly, the high potassium levels of plant protein foods, such as legumes and grains, will decrease urinary calcium. The hypocalciuric effect of the high phosphate associated with the amino acids of meat at least partially offsets the hypercalciuric effect of the protein. Other food and dietary constituents such as vitamin D, isoflavones in soy, caffeine and added salt also have effects on bone health. Many of these other components are considered in the potential renal acid load of a food or diet, which predicts its effect on urinary acid and thus calcium. “Excess” dietary protein from either animal or plant proteins may be detrimental to bone health, but its effect will be modified by other nutrients in the food and total diet.

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