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Nutrient - Vitamin C may reduce risk of bone fractures

By Holly Taylor BSc (Hons) DipCNM MBANT

Vitamin C has many important bone health functions. Firstly, it assists in the formation of collagen. Collagen makes up 30% of bone tissue, where it provides a support structure for mineral deposits, giving bone its resilience. In addition to aiding collagen formation, vitamin C also helps to stimulate the cells that build bone, enhance calcium absorption and enhance vitamin D’s effect on bone metabolism.

In a study, reported in the November issue of Osteoporosis International, participants with the highest vitamin C intakes had fewer bone fractures, compared to participants with lower intakes.

The researchers evaluated data from 929 participants in the Framingham Osteoporosis Study. Dietary questionnaires were analysed for vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium and other nutrient intake. The participants were followed for 15 to 17 years, during which 280 fractures occurred. Men and women with the highest vitamin C intakes (around 300mg per day) had a 44% lower risk of experiencing a fracture than those whose intake was lowest (around 94mg per day).

When vitamin C from supplements alone was analysed, those whose intake was highest (around 250mg per day) had a 69% lower risk of hip fracture than non-supplement users. The researchers concluded that the results of the study suggest a possible protective effect of vitamin C on bone health in older adults. 

Article References

S Sahni et al. Protective effect of total and supplemental vitamin C intake on the risk of hip fracture - a 17-year follow-up from the Framingham Osteoporosis Study. Osteoporos Int. 2009 Nov;20(11):1853-61

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