Calcium, Vitamin D, & Osteoporosis — A Case For Plant Based

What is calcium and vitamin D?

  • 1,000 mg daily: women aged 50 and younger; men aged 70 and younger
  • 1,200 mg daily: women 51 years and older; men 71 years and older
  • 400–800 IU daily: women and men age 50 and younger
  • 800–1,000 IU daily: women and men 51 years and older


The dairy industry and the U.S. government

Lies of the Dairy Industry

Preventing Osteoporosis

Vegans with higher rate of fractures evidence:

  • Study of more than 34,000 participants of meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans found a slightly higher risk of fractures in vegans than the other populations.
  • Compared with omnivores, this study found vegetarians and vegans had lower bone mineral density in the neck and spine, and vegans had higher fracture rates.
  • Study of 177 individuals older than 65 years old found a strong correlation between dietary intake of legumes, eggs, meat, fish, vegetables, milk, grains, and olive oil and preservation of whole body bone mineral density. (The article did not specify the types of diets the participants ate.)
  • Proving additional research is needed, this study concluded that the relationship between vegan diets, bone loss, and fracture rates are ambiguous.

Pro-Plant Based Diet evidence:

  • A 12 year Harvard study of over 77,000 women found no evidence that drinking milk decreases rates of bone fractures or osteoporosis.
  • Study of 96,000 participants lasting more than 2 decades found that greater milk consumption during teenage years was not associated with a lower risk of hip fractures in older adults.
  • In relation to stress fractures, this study found no association between calcium and dairy intake and stress fractures; it did, however, find a correlation between adequate vitamin D intake and lower rates of fractures.
  • A study of more than 100,000 participants in Sweden over 20 years found that a higher consumption of milk is not accompanied by a lower risk of bone fractures; on the contrary, the study found a higher consumption of milk may actually be associated with a higher rate of death.
  • Dietary calcium intake is not associated with risk of fracture.
  • Worldwide geographic study found rates of fractures and osteoporosis are increased with poor economic status, reduced winter sunlight (and vitamin D deficiency), and water fluoridation.
  • Eating legumes at least once daily reduced risk of hip fractures by 64%; meat intake of 4 or more times per week was associated with a 40% reduced risk of hip fractures.
  • Study concluded that bones are not negatively affected in young adults eating a plant based diet.

Calcium and Vitamin D intake and the plant based diet

Calcium-rich foods include:

  • Collard greens (1 cup = 360 mg)
  • Broccoli rabe (1 cup = 200 mg)
  • Bok choy (1 cup cooked = 158 mg)
  • Swiss chard (1 cup = 102 mg)
  • Kale (1 cup cooked = 100 mg)
  • Mustard greens (1 cup = 165 mg)
  • Legumes
  • Soybeans (1 cup cooked = 175 mg)
  • White beans (1 cup = 161 mg)
  • Chickpeas (1 cup canned = 109 mg)
  • Ancient grains (such as amaranth and teff, 1 cup cooked = 116 mg)
  • Figs (2, dried = 65 mg)
  • Broccoli (1 cup = 60 mg)
  • Orange (1 whole = 55 mg)
  • Raspberries (1 cup = 44 mg)
  • Fortified plant milk and juice* (1 cup = 300 mg)
  • Tofu (4 oz = 205 mg)
  • Tahini (2 tablespoons = 130 mg)
  • Almonds (¼ cup = 97 mg)
  • Almond butter (2 tablespoons = 111 mg)
  • Chia seeds (1 tablespoon = 76 mg)
  • Flaxseed (1 tablespoon ground = 18 mg)
  • Barley (1 cup = 61 mg)

Vitamin D and sun exposure

Eat a well-balanced diet



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