Vitamin C Helps Prevent Osteoporosis
James Meschino DC, MS, ROHP
Studies over the years have shown that higher vitamin C intake is associated with higher bone mass in humans, and a lower risk of osteoporosis. Until recently no one knew how vitamin C increased or preserved bone density. However, a 2012 study in the open journal PloS ONE has provided some evidence to explain how it works. Researchers showed that when mice were given large doses of vitamin C,it stimulated bone formation to protect their skeleton. Vitamin C was shown to increase the activity of osteoblasts, which are the bone cells that generate new bone formation. It appears that higher vitamin C intake has a direct effect on up-regulating these important bone generating cells, which ultimately leads to improved bone density.
Higher vitamin C intake has also been associated with reduced fracture risk over a 17-year follow-up period. A large study known as the Women’s Health Initiative found a strong relationship between total vitamin C intake and bone mineral density at both the hip and spine in women receiving hormone therapy.
Taken together, researchers are now suggesting that while regular dietary amounts of vitamin C prevents scurvy and brittle bones, higher doses might protect against skeletal loss. This effect appears to require vitamin C from supplementation.
There is strong and compelling evidence that supplementation with the right dosages of calcium, vitamin D, icariin flavonoid, and magnesium can prevent bone loss and increase bone density in patients with established bone loss problems (osteopenia and osteoporosis)
In addition to acquiring these nutrients from a well-designed Bone Support Supplement, I also encourage patients to take a high potency multiple vitamin and mineral supplement that includes 1000 mg of vitamin C (as well as other bone support nutrients such as, copper (2 mg), calcium (500 mg), magnesium (200 mg), vitamin D (1000 IU) and a B-50 complex).
Osteoporosis affects one in four women, and one in eight men, over 50 years of age, and is a leading cause of disability and mortality in our society. It is becoming increasingly clear that osteoporosis, and related osteoporotic fractures, are preventable and in the majority of cases. Preventing these problems involves the daily inclusion of certain dietary factors, regular physical activity and the prudent use of dietary supplements. In short the individual’s lifestyle behaviors are the primary factors that determine osteoporosis development, or its prevention, in most cases. The ingestion of vitamin C, from supplementation, is emerging as one of several important nutrients that have protective effects against this disease. It’s not just about getting enough calcium. Other nutrients, including vitamin C, play a vital role in supporting optimal bone density.
Zhu L-L, Cao J, Sun M, Yuen T, Zhou R, et al. (2012) Vitamin C Prevents Hypogonadal Bone Loss. PLoS ONE 7(10): e47058. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047058