Mouse study suggests vitamin E may weaken bones

Mouse study suggests vitamin E may weaken bones
Still too soon to warn people off supplements, expert stresses.

(HealthDay) -- Vitamin E may stimulate cells that result in bone loss, a new study suggests.

Researchers led by Shu Takeda of Keio University in Tokyo said their findings could have implications for people who take vitamin E supplements.

The researchers explain that maintaining a balance between bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) and bone-degrading cells (osteoclasts) keeps bones strong. Although prior studies had suggested that vitamin E could be beneficial for bone health, the found the opposite may be true, since the nutrient seems to trigger the production of bone-eroding osteoclasts.

A U.S. expert agreed with the hypothesis.

"Bone health is a dynamic tissue and issue," said Dr. Robert Graham, an internist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "It is in a constant struggle between osteoblasts ... and osteoclasts."

Understanding this cellular battle "is crucial in understanding how vitamin E may affect our ," Graham said.

The new study, published online March 4 in , revealed that mice deficient in vitamin E actually have higher because there is less . Meanwhile, healthy mice that were fed a diet with the amount of vitamin E found in typical human supplements lost bone mass.

The study has revealed "the opposite of what was traditionally believed," Graham said. "This is intriguing, because previous in vitro [laboratory] studies and mice studies have yielded contradictory results."

Still, much more research is needed to better understand how vitamin E works in the skeletons of humans, Graham added. "Before we start telling people to throw away their vitamin E, let me state that these results are in mice and more studies are needed to see the risks and benefits in humans," he said.


Explore further

Vitamin D supplements do not increase bone density in healthy children

More information: Robert Graham, M.D., et al. Nature Medicine,, March 4, 2012. DOI: 10.1038/nm.2659

The U.S. National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements provides more information on vitamin E.

Journal information: Nature Medicine

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Mar 04, 2012
While obviously more research will have to be done, this is really just mimicking other studies reflecting overdoses of vitamins. Almost no real reasearch has been done on the impact of healthy people taking supplements, and yet they're more popular than ever. I work with people who are in their mid-20s and choke down a fistful of pills every day.

I keep telling people that the human body hasn't evolved to overload on vitamins and, best case, you just urinate it all out and worst case, it will impact you later in life... but supplements popularity keeps going through the roof. With no real research data and not even requiring FDA approval, people think the advertising they read about it is real data.

Not that people will listen anyway: It's been known for a long time that loading on Vitamin C while you have a cold will do nothing...

Regardless, with all this new research taking place so long after-the-fact, it'll be interesting to see how messed up people's bodies will become.

Mar 05, 2012
It's very easy to talk about 'E-vitamin'. But how many realize that there are 8 different substances or constructs that are all called E-vitamin. So it is very probable that people, even researchers, might think that these all have same effects in organisms. For comparison just consider the differences between vitamins D2 and D3. Or K1 and K2.

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