Synergy of high protein intake and exercise in youth enhances bone structure and strength

April 3, 2014

A study presented during the World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases in Seville shows that high levels of protein intake (HProt) enhance the positive impact of high physical activity (HPA) on bone structure and strength in healthy pre-pubertal boys.

Researchers from the University of Geneva in Switzerland and Eindhoven University in the Netherlands tracked 176 healthy pre-pubertal boys (average age 7.4 years) to mid-adolescence (average age 15.2 years). Compared to moderate protein intake, HProt in combination with HPA was associated with microstructural changes to bone mineral content and at the hip.

At 15.2 years, at distal tibia, HProt-HPA vs MProt-HPA was significantly associated with larger cross sectional area and higher trabecular number. Under MProt and HProt, increased physical activity was associated with greater stiffness and failure load.

The positive microstructural changes, which are thought to confer greater mechanical resistance to weight-bearing bones, tracked from pre-puberty to mid-late puberty.

The study results suggest that synergies between high levels of and rigorous during youth may help prevent osteoporosis later in life.

Explore further: Exercise in early 20s may lower risk of osteoporosis

More information: OC 11 Tracking of environmental determinants of bone structure and strength development in healthy boys: an eight-year follow up study on the positive interaction between physical activity and protein intake from prepuberty to mid-late adolescence. T. Chevalley, J. P. Bonjour, B. Van Rietbergen, S. Ferrari, R. Rizzoli. Osteoporos Int. Vol 25, Suppl. 2, 2014

Related Stories

Exercise in early 20s may lower risk of osteoporosis

February 13, 2012

Physical exercise in the early twenties improves bone development and may reduce the risk of fractures later in life, reveals a study of more than 800 Swedish men carried out at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of ...

Recommended for you

Mobile app records our erratic eating habits

September 24, 2015

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner? For too many of us, the three meals of the day go more like: office meeting pastry, mid-afternoon energy drink, and midnight pizza. In Cell Metabolism on September 24, Salk Institute scientists ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.