General Health Wednesday October 10, 2012

Worried about osteoporosis? A high dose of vitamin C might be the answer

Osteoporosis is common in older men and women, however it tends to be more prevalent in older women after menopause or a hysterectomy. This is largely due to a deficiency of hormones like oestrogen and androgens. However, osteoporosis can start earlier than that, particularly in those who have a diet that doesn’t contain enough calcium, people with bone cancer, those taking certain medications, have genetic disorders or thyroid conditions.

High doses of vitamin C

It’s long been thought that a balanced diet at an early age, particularly in a person’s early 20’s when bone density is being increased, is of the utmost importance. There have also been studies that have shown that vitamin C, known s ascorbic acid had on bone density, but a recent research has shown the significant benefit that vitamin C for maintaining bone density, even when hormone levels have been reduced.

The research

The researchers from Mount Senai Medical Center did research on mice that revealed the highly beneficial effects of vitamin C. Their research involved removing the ovaries of some mice while and providing one group with a high dose of vitamin C, while another group received no such supplement. The control group had their ovaries in-tact.

What was discovered was that the mice that received no additional vitamin C and that had their ovaries removed showed bone deterioration, while those who received high doses of vitamin C over the eight weeks showed a bone mineral density that was similar to that of the control group, that only had fake overiectomies.

This outcome showed that administering large doses of vitamin C in humans orally can help with bone regeneration. This is largely believed to be the case because it stimulates osteoblasts, which are bone cells that haven’t matured yet, to mature, thus helping new mineral bone structures form.

Why steps should be taken to avoid osteoporosis

Although osteoporosis doesn’t cause any immediate pain, it places a person at risk of fractures, which is why older people are far more likely to break their writs or hips as a result of a minor fall. Spinal fractures are also commonly seen in people with this condition, which can often lead to chronic pain as a result.

What this research means

Like all health conditions, osteoporosis is best avoided, as it can be extremely difficult to maintain bones once they start deteriorating. Currently doctors are recommending that people do exercise, including weight-bearing and resistance exercises and also maintain a healthy, balanced diet that include enough calcium and vitamin D. However, with new research such as this doctors might be able to have a broader range of recommendations for people who are looking to ensure their bone mineral density is at a peak level for as long as possible.

Although there has been previous research suggesting the benefits of vitamin C to bone strength, it’s important to speak to your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet, such as adding large amounts of vitamin C. Ideally, to ensure overall health, balance is the key, supplemented by the right lifestyle choices.

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