B Vitamins and Bone Density
Older adults who are low in B vitamins or who have elevated levels of a blood protein called homocysteine are at increased risk of suffering a hip fracture. Elevated homocysteine levels are also linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Homocysteine levels go up when B vitamin levels go down. In this study, researchers found that homocysteine and certain B vitamins were each independently linked to hip fracture risk.
Men and women with vitamin B6 or B12 deficiencies were 60 percent more likely than those with normal levels to sustain a hip fracture.
High homocysteine levels lead to a 50 percent to 70 percent increased risk of a hip fracture — regardless of their B vitamin levels.
Lab research suggests that B vitamins play a role in maintaining bone density, and studies have linked low blood levels of the vitamins with low bone mass. As B6 declines, bone loss accelerates. Although homocysteine was related to hip fracture risk, it is not due to bone loss. Diet changes and vitamin supplements are easy and effective methods for controlling B vitamin and homocysteine levels.
Vitamin B6 is found in foods like potatoes, bananas, beans and fortified cereals; vitamin B12 is found mainly in meat, eggs, fish and poultry.
Relevant blood work: vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folic acid, fasting homocysteine
Yours in health,
SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, June 2008.