Friday, November 6, 2009

B vitamins and osteoporosis

I have never agreed with the sentiment that increasing your calcium intake is the solution to preventing osteoporosis. Your body is not that simple. You body has a host of nutrients that it needs to undertaken any function.

Hopefully you are aware of the need for magnesium and vitamin D in bone health. You need to have 2 lots of calcium per 1 lot of magnesium. That is 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium. You also need lots of vitamin D. Either by spending 10-15 in the sun showing legs are arms every day. This should be in the time of day that risk of sunburn is low. Otherwise you need to supplement.

Now reading a paper today it appears that the B vitamins are important for bone health. They looked at markers for bone health and some vitamin B levels in the blood of nearly 100 men and women who had hip replacement operations. I assume that these operations were carried out on people who had arthritis, not osteoporosis, otherwise the study wouldn't make sense. They took the hip bone and analyzed it for its mechanical properties to determine how healthy the bone was. They concluded:
The results of the present study indicate that low serum folate and vitamin B-6 concentrations, but not low serum vitamin B-12 concentrations, are associated with an altered morphology of human bone.
I am unsure why the looked at only these three vitamins. The question I have is B vitamins come from fresh green vegetables. So do these results tell us that people who have lots of fresh green vege's live healthier lives, thus have better bone health. Or does it say that folate and B-6 are essential for bone health.

I would suggest that we all eat more green vege's and go and increase our B supplements!

References: Joerg H Holstein Low serum folate and vitamin B-6 are associated with an altered cancellous bone structure in humans. Am J Clin Nutr 90: 1440-1445, 2009. First published September 16, 2009; doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28116
Picture credit wikipedia

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