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Increased vitamin E intakes may reduce fracture risk in the elderly

January 20, 2014

New studies from Sweden report that low intakes and low serum concentrations of vitamin E seem to be associated with an increased rate of fracture in older women and men.

In two cohort studies, the vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) intakes and blood concentrations of 61,433 women and 1138 men were measured and cases of fractures were documented over a period of 19 years (1). The studies’ results showed that women and men with the lowest intakes and/or blood levels of vitamin E had a significantly higher risk for hip fractures, as well as any other fractures.

The researchers commented that a reduction in the formation of free radicals and oxidative stress might reduce the rate of bone loss and muscle wasting in the elderly. Because vitamin E has high levels of anti- oxidant activity, it may favorably influence bone and muscle mass (2, 3). However, there are few human studies on the effect of alpha-tocopherol in relation to bone health. Osteoporotic fractures constitute a large and growing problem worldwide in both women and men, which have a profound effect on quality of life and mortality. Fracture risk is influenced by both genetic constitution and by environmental factors. Lifestyle factors (e.g., diet and physical activity) also gain importance with increasing age.

References

  1. Michaelsson K. et al. Intake and serum concentrations of alpha-tocopherol in relation to fractures in elderly women and men: 2 cohort studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014; 99:107–114.
  2. Shuid A.N. et al. Effects of alpha-tocopherol on the early phase of osteoporotic fracture healing. J Orthop Res. 2011; 29:1732–1738.
  3. Cerullo F. et al. Rationale for antioxidant supplementation in sarcopenia. J Aging Res. 2012; 2012:316943.