Vitamin E drugs might expose humans to the risk of bone fractures, according to new research carried out in Japan.
From studying the effects of Vitamin E supplements on mice, they discovered that bone mass levels had dropped. This reaction, up-scaled to bones the size of those found in humans, could affect general strength and density, with resultant fractures a possibility.
Vitamin E occurs naturally in a wide range of food products including hazelnuts, almonds, green vegetables like broccoli and spinach and oils. It's already widely known that Vitamin D intake promotes ongoing bone strength but, on the other hand, the Vitamin E/bone relationship has been explored far less.
Vitamin E Study
Based at Tokyo's Keio University, a team of Japanese scientists examined the effects of both insufficient and excessive Vitamin E levels. While previous research had put forward that, actually, this vitamin enhanced bone mass, the Japanese Vitamin E study found the exact opposite, with mice with low Vitamin E levels having better quality bones that those with it in abundance.
It's a misconception to think that once humans have passed into adulthood, bone size and bone density levels remain static. They certainly can do but it occurs when there's as many osteoblasts present as osteoclasts, so as much bone is being made as being lost.
The Japanese researchers - whose work has now been published by Nature Medicine - ultimately believe that Vitamin E could throw this osteoblast/osteoclast relationship off balance and encourage more osteoclasts to be manufactured, thereby upping bone destruction levels.
Vitamin E: Bone Density Effects
Speaking to the BBC, Doctor Helen McDonald - a Scottish researcher - explained how this research now joins a small but significant body of evidence pointing to the negative effects of Vitamin E on bone density.
McDonald doesn't encourage foods with a Vitamin E content to be avoided but stresses how ‘vitamin E supplements involve doses far higher than those in a normal diet". She adds: "There is [therefore] increasing evidence that taking supplements doesn't do any good, and if anything, may be doing harm."
Image copyright ‘LadyofProcrastination' - Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Vitamin Supplement Study Highlights Death Risk