Vitamin C May Reduce Fracture Risk
Author: ANCP Date Posted:26 May 2016
When you think about bone health, calcium is probably the first nutrient that comes to mind. But did you know that vitamin C, best known for its role in helping to maintain immunity, may also be vital for strong bones?
While it’s true that bones are largely composed of minerals like calcium, they also contain water and a protein matrix that’s predominantly composed of collagen, which helps give bones their strength. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for the formation of collagen and consequently is vital for bone health.
In addition, its antioxidant properties may help to reduce the effects of oxidative stress on bone tissue, which has been linked with the breakdown of bone. Research suggests that consuming high levels of vitamin C may help to reduce the risk of bone fracture in older people. In a study conducted over a 17-year period, researchers measured the total vitamin C intake from food and vitamin supplements of 929 older people, and also noted whether they experienced any fractures of the hip or other bones (excluding the spine).
Results showed that participants with the highest intake of vitamin C from food and supplements experienced only around half the number of hip fractures of those with the lowest intake of vitamin C, and were also around a third less likely to experience other non-vertebral fractures.
How much vitamin C do I need?
The association between vitamin C and reduced fractures was noted when participants in this study consumed a total of around 308 mg of vitamin C per day from food and supplements. Similar results were observed when the data from people who took vitamin C supplements (around 260 mg/day) was compared to data from people who didn’t take supplements.
Keep eating your fruit and vegetables?
People who did not take vitamin C supplements but consumed high levels of vitamin C exclusively from dietary sources did not experience the same protective effects. Nevertheless, it’s still important for your bone health that you consume plenty of fruit and vegetables. Eating a diet that contains large quantities of fresh produce is associated with improved bone mineral status, which may be due to a combination of factors including the abundance of antioxidants and high levels of potassium that are present in these foods.