Forget milk for strong bones: NUTS could be just as important for child bone health

 Parents have long been advised to feed their children enough milk and other calcium-rich foods for good bone health, but new research has shown that pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, salmon and almonds may be just as important.

The study, presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Washington DC, found that foods rich in magnesium play an important role in building bones.

'Lots of nutrients are key for children to have healthy bones and one of these appears to be magnesium,' said lead author Steven Abrams, professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

'Calcium is important, but, except for those children and adolescents with very low intakes, may not be more important than magnesium.'

While it is known that magnesium is important for bone health in adults, few studies have looked at whether magnesium intake is related to bone mineral content in young children.

Researchers recruited 63 healthy children aged between four and eight years old who were not taking any multivitamins or minerals to participate in the study.

All children kept food diaries throughout the research.

Children were hospitalized overnight twice so their calcium and magnesium levels could be measured.
 All foods and drinks served during their hospital stay contained the same amount of calcium and magnesium they consumed in a typical day based on the children's diaries.

The meals and drinks were weighed before and after each meal to determine how much calcium and magnesium the children actually consumed.

In addition to this, parents were given weighing scales to measure their child's food intake for three days at home after the first hospital stay, and for three days at home prior to the second inpatient stay.

This was to ensure that dietary intake of calcium and magnesium could be calculated accurately.

While hospitalised, children's levels of calcium and magnesium were measured using a technique that involved giving them non-radioactive forms of magnesium and calcium, called stable isotopes, intravenously and orally.

Their urine was collected for 72 hours. By measuring the stable isotopes in the urine, the researchers could work out how much calcium and magnesium was absorbed into the body.

Bone mineral content and density were measured using a special technique called total body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.

Results showed that the amounts of magnesium consumed and absorbed were key predictors of how much bone children had.

Dietary calcium intake, however, was not significantly associated with total bone mineral content or density.

'We believe it is important for children to have a balanced, healthy diet with good sources of minerals, including both calcium and magnesium,' Dr. Abrams concluded.

Source : dailymail


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