High protein causes bone demineralization

This is a myth!

Protein does not cause osteoporosis nor declining bone health. In fact, the opposite is true. High quality dietary protein is necessary for strong bones.


Heaney & Layman (2008) examined that bone health depended on a variety of factors:

1) Level of protein in the diet

2) Protein source

3) Calcium intake

4) Weight loss

5) Acid/base balance of the diet.

The review also acknowledged a study of 191 subjects over 20 years that found protein intakes from 0.41 – 1.96 g/kg had no effect on calcium absorption efficiency. No differences in measured markers in the blood for bone turnover were found in either a high protein or high carbohydrate diet.

Studies have shown that various protein sources may exhibit different effects on bone metabolism. It has been shown that:

Animal Source = Higher serum levels of IGF-1

Soy foods/Products = Lower levels of IGF-1.

High levels of IGF-1 are related to bone growth. As individuals age, there are declines in serum levels of IGF-1 concentration.

Both the level of protein and the type of protein in your diet may have an effect of IGF-1 levels in the body.

What about Calcium Intake?

Protein intake increases urinary calcium loss, but whether there is a negative calcium balance, depends on dietary calcium intake.

Highest Protein Intake + Calcium/Vitamin D Supplementation = Positive Bone Health

Take Away Point


High levels of protein do not result in bone demineralization or a decrease in bone mass. High protein diets, rich in calcium help to increase bone mineralization and decrease the risk of fracture.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/18469289/