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Vitamin E Is Linked To Osteoporosis



Japanese researchers claim to have found a link between vitamin E and bone degeneration. According to a report published in Nature Medicine, scientists have been able to establish a link between vitamin E and osteoporosis in mice.

Shu Takeda and his team fed normal mice and rats a supplemental diet which was rich in alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E). The researchers observed that mice and rats who consumed this diet in amounts comparable to that of human consumption began to lose bone mass. Conversely, mice who were genetically engineered to be deficient in a protein that transfers vitamin E across cell membranes were observed to have high bone mass.

Researchers said vitamin E stimulates bones to undergo a process called osteoclast fusion or bone resorption. Osteoclasts are cells which specialize in reabsorbing bone tissue. Although osteoclasts are essential to bone remodeling (the renewal of bone tissue), if too much bone is reabsorbed it will lead to bone weakening and the condition known as osteoporosis. 

Now research seems to point to a relationship between vitamin E consumption and activation of osteoclasts. The results of the animal studies suggest that humans who consume vitamin E supplements may be in danger of bone loss through stimulation of bone reabsorbing cells.

It's important to point out the Japanese experiment used an animal model, the results may not be repeated in human beings. Nonetheless, people who are most susceptible to osteoporosis should take note of these findings.

The researchers focused on vitamin E supplements. This is very important because most people can obtain sufficient amounts of alpha-tocopherol in their regular diet. In fact the following foods are rich sources of vitamin E: 

  • spinach
  • turnips
  • sunflower oil
  • avocados
  • asparagus
  • kiwi
  • sweet potatoes
  • pumpkins
  • broccoli
  • beets
  • collard greens

With so many natural sources of vitamin E, Shu Takeda's research stands out as a sort of caution against misuse or overconsumption of this nutrient. In other words, people who supplement vitamin E when natural sources are readily available could be consuming more of the nutrient than is safe for their body.

Vitamin E has its uses; among other things, its antioxidant properties help the body to maintain healthy cells. But too much of a good thing can quickly turn bad.

Women in particular should take note of the Japanese report because osteoporosis afflicts 4.5 million women over the age of 50.


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Article Source 

Fujita, K., Iwasaki, M., Ochi, H., Fukuda, T., Ma, C., Miyamoto, T., Takitani, K., Negishi-Koga, T., Sunamura, S., Kodama, T., Takayanagi, H., Tamai, H., Kato, S., Arai, H., Shinomiya, K., Itoh, H., Okawa, A., & Takeda, S. (2012). Vitamin E decreases bone mass by stimulating osteoclast fusion Nature Medicine DOI: 10.1038/nm.2659

FASTSTATS - Osteoporosis

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