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    Nutritional strategies to optimise musculoskeletal health for fall and fracture prevention: looking beyond calcium, vitamin D and protein

    Webster, James, Dalla Via, Jack, Langley, Christina, Smith, Cassandra, Sale, Craig ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5816-4169 and Sim, Marc (2023) Nutritional strategies to optimise musculoskeletal health for fall and fracture prevention: looking beyond calcium, vitamin D and protein. Bone Reports, 19. 101684. ISSN 2352-1872

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    Falls and osteoporotic fractures are a major public health problem, particularly among older adults. A third of individuals aged 65 years and over fall at least once each year, with up to 20 % of these resulting in serious injury, including fracture. In conjunction with regular exercise, the importance of diet for musculoskeletal health has largely focused upon calcium, vitamin D, and protein, particularly in the context of preventing falls and fractures. Whilst there is evidence for the benefits of these nutrients for musculoskeletal health, other aspects of the diet remain largely underexplored. For example, vegetables are rich sources of macro- and micronutrients that are essential for muscle function and bone health, which are key factors in the prevention of falls and fractures. Recent work has highlighted the importance of nutrients such as vegetable-derived nitrate and vitamin K1 in optimising muscle strength, physical function, and bone quality. In the context of dietary patterns, vegan/plant-based diets have recently gained popularity due to perceived health benefits, animal welfare, or to tackle climate change. The elimination and/or substitution of animal-based products for plant foods (without careful planning and/or expert dietary guidance) could, however, have long-term negative musculoskeletal consequences; a trend uncovered by recent evidence. Within the overarching theme of nutrition for fall and fracture prevention in older populations, the aim of this review is to (i) summarise the current evidence for calcium, vitamin D and protein; (ii) describe the importance of vegetables and selected nutrients, such as nitrate and vitamin K1, for muscle function and bone structural integrity; and (iii) highlight current evidence around different dietary patterns (e.g., plant-based, diet quality, data driven approaches) and their impact on musculoskeletal health.

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