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Osteoporosis—Harnessing Vitamin E and Other Nutrients for Optimal Bone Health

A recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition (BJN) in January 2016 reported that vitamin E can assist Chinese women when it comes to bone health. Several risk factors for osteoporosis are clinically recognized, including:

  • Gender: Women are more likely than men to develop osteoporosis
  • Age: The older the patient, the higher the risk of osteoporosis
  • Ethnicity: White and Asian ancestry increases the risk of osteoporosis
  • Family history: A family history of osteoporosis increases risk
  • Body size: Both men and women with smaller body frames have a higher risk

In the United States it is estimated that 55 percent of people aged 50 and older have some degree of osteoporosis; this is consistent with my observations in my clinical practice.

The recent BJN study reviewed the dietary intake of 3,203 citizens of China between the ages 40 and 75. The researchers took blood samples measuring vitamin E levels and correlated these with the bone density of the lumbar spine and left hip sites, including total, femoral neck and other areas of the body.

It was discovered that a diet higher in vitamin E was associated with enhanced body density in women. Women with the highest vitamin E levels showed a 2.5 percent higher lumbar (lower back); 3.06 percent higher hip and 3.54 percent of femoral neck (top of thigh body) bone density.

Similarly, positive findings were discovered in Chinese women, but not men when it came to blood measurements of vitamin E and bone density. Women with the highest measurements of blood vitamin E had between 1.24 to 4.83 percent higher bone density compared to the women with the lowest measurable vitamin E.

In clinical practice we find such research studies helpful when creating customized osteoporosis protocols for each patient. Additional considerations include avoiding smoking; participating in weight bearing exercise such as walking, jogging or dancing; optimizing vitamin D blood levels and making certain that mineral intake of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus are adequate. All patients should have their vitamin D levels measured annually, and my patients target at least a mid-range level relative to the laboratory reference range.

Shi WQ, et al. Br J Nutr. 2016;115:113-20.
Gupta A, et al. Aust Prescr. 2016 Apr;39(2):40-6. 1. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27340321



Written by Dr. Chris Meletis


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