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Vitamin C supplementation shows potential for menopausal bone loss prevention

Vitamin C supplementation shows potential for menopausal bone loss prevention

Friday, October 19, 2012. The online journal PLoS One published an article on October 8, 2012 which suggests a protective effect for vitamin C against bone loss associated with the decline in female hormones that occurs with aging.

Mone Zaidi, MD and colleagues at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York tested the effects of vitamin C supplementation in mice that had their ovaries removed to mimic the hormonal changes associated with menopause. Another group of mice received sham surgeries. The animals were divided to receive five milligrams per day vitamin C or no supplementation for eight weeks.

Bone mineral density was assessed before, during and after the treatment period, and bone samples were analyzed at the end of the study. At four and eight weeks, lumbar spine bone mineral density was found to have significantly decreased in ovariectomized mice compared to the controls, however, the decline was prevented in animals that received vitamin C. Evaluation of the tibia uncovered a significant protective effect for vitamin C at eight weeks, but not at four weeks. Bone analysis revealed a reduction in mineralizing surface, mineral apposition rate (the rate of addition of new layers of mineral) and bone formation rate in ovariectomized rats that was completely prevented in animals that received vitamin C. Supplemented ovariectomized and non-ovariectomized animals also experienced elevations in plasma osteocalcin, a marker of bone formation.

"This study has profound public health implications, and is well worth exploring for its therapeutic potential in people," stated Dr Zaidi, who is a Professor of Medicine and Director of the Mount Sinai Bone Program. "The medical world has known for some time that low amounts of vitamin C can cause scurvy and brittle bones, and that higher vitamin C intake is associated with higher bone mass in humans. What this study shows is that large doses of vitamin C, when ingested orally by mice, actively stimulate bone formation to protect the skeleton. It does this by inducing osteoblasts, or premature bone cells, to differentiate into mature, mineralizing specialty cells."

"Further research may discover that dietary supplements may help prevent osteoporosis in humans," he added. "If so, the findings could be ultimately useful to developing nations where osteoporosis is prevalent and standard medications are sparse and expensive."

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Olive oil-rich Mediterranean diet may benefit bone

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A report published online on August 1, 2012 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM) describes the results of a study of the effects of a Mediterranean diet on markers of bone formation in older men. "This is the first randomized study which demonstrates that olive oil preserves bone, at least as inferred by circulating bone markers, in humans," announced lead researcher José Manuel Fernández-Real, MD, PhD, of Hospital Dr Josep Trueta in Girona, Spain.

The study included 127 men aged 55 to 80 years enrolled in the Prevencion con Dieta Mediterranea (PREDIMED) study, which was designed to evaluate the cardioprotective effect of the Mediterranean diet. Participants in the current study had type 2 diabetes or three or more cardiovascular risk factors. The subject were randomized to consume a Mediterranean diet with mixed nuts, a Mediterranean diet enhanced with virgin olive oil or a low fat diet for two years. Circulating osteocalcin, undercarboxylated osteocalcin, C-telopeptide of type 1 collagen and procollagen I N-terminal propeptide levels were measured at the beginning and end of the study. In addition to these markers of bone formation and resorption, fasting insulin, glucose and other factors were assessed.

Men who consumed the olive-oil enriched Mediterranean diet had significant increases in total osteocalcin and procollagen I N-terminal peptide, while these values remained the same in men who consumed the other diets. Greater intake of olives was also associated with increased osteocalcin at the beginning and end of the intervention.

"The intake of olive oil has been related to the prevention of osteoporosis in experimental and in vitro models," Dr Fernández-Real noted. "It's important to note that circulating osteocalcin was associated with preserved insulin secretion in subjects taking olive oil. Osteocalcin has also been described to increase insulin secretion in experimental models."

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