Vitamin C May Fight Bone Loss, Osteoporosis

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2012-10-11 10:26

If you take vitamin C to help fight symptoms of cold and flu, you may be doing your bones a favor at the same time. A new study from Mount Sinai School of Medicine suggests this popular vitamin can fight bone loss that leads to osteoporosis, which affects millions of men and women.

Can you build bone with vitamin C?

The nutrients typically associated with building and maintaining strong bones are vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium, along with boron, potassium, phosphorus, iron, fluoride, manganese, copper, and zinc. These ingredients, along with other factors such as regular weight-bearing exercise and not smoking, support and nurture bone health.

Vitamin C has also been recognized as playing a role in bone health, but this new study is the first time an animal model has shown that the vitamin can actively protect the body against development of osteoporosis. More specifically, the study results showed that large doses of vitamin C, when given to mice, "actively stimulate bone formation to protect the skeleton," according to head researcher Mone Zaidi, MD, professor of medicine and director of the Mount Sinai Bone Program.

Zaidi also noted that vitamin C is able to aggressively promote bone formation "by inducing osteoblasts, or premature bone cells, to differentiate into mature, mineralizing specialty cells." To come to this conclusion, the researchers conducted the following experiment.

Three groups of mice were evaluated: two groups that had had their ovaries removed (an ovariectomy, which causes a reduction in bone density) and one group of control mice with intact ovaries. One group of mice that had had an ovariectomy was given high doses of vitamin C for eight weeks.

Bone mineral density was measured in all the mice, and this is what the researchers discovered:

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