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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

George Mason Study: Ingesting Protein above Recommended Dietary Allowance May Improve Bone Health

How many servings of protein should you have each day? It may be more than you think.

George Mason College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) faculty, Dr. Taylor C. Wallace and Dr. Cara L. Frankenfeld published a study on dietary protein intake and bone health July 7
[Photo: Dr. Taylor C. Wallace (left) and Dr. Cara L. Frankenfeld]

“Dietary intake of protein is fundamental for optimal acquisition and maintenance of bone across all life stages, so it’s important to know how much protein we should incorporate into our diets and what types of sources we should get it from,” said Dr. Wallace of CHHS’s department of nutrition and field studies. Dr. Wallace explained that the reason it is difficult to pinpoint this is that some studies support the hypothesis that high protein intake is beneficial for bone health, while others suggest it could be detrimental. Additionally, our recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is based on non-bone health outcomes and haven’t been updated since 2005.

Dr. Wallace and Dr. Frankenfeld’s systematic review of 29 articles on the most relevant studies found that protein intake above the RDA may be beneficial for bone health.

“Systematic reviews and meta-analyses provide a way to comprehensively evaluate the existing research on a topic. Our review focused on studies of women not taking hormones and men, and this review suggests that protein intakes above the current RDA may be beneficial in preventing hip fractures in this population,” said Dr. Frankenfeld of CHHS’s department of global and community health.

As next steps, the researchers suggest larger, long-term randomized control trials of women not using hormone replacement therapy in order to adequately assess the impact of protein intakes above the RDA have on preventing bone loss.

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