B is for Bones
Alternative Medicine Magazine, May 2005.
There's a new role for an old star of the supplement world. B vitamins, used to combat many ailments, are favored for heart disease patients because they decrease levels of homocysteine, an amino acid thought to be a risk factor for the killer condition. But a new study suggests B vitamins are also good for your bones.
The study followed 559 elderly stroke patients, who tend to have higher levels of homocysteine and are two to four times more likely to suffer hip fractures than their healthy counterparts. For two years, half the participants took a daily dose of 5 milligrams of the B vitamin called folic acid and 1,500 micrograms of B-12, while the rest took placebos. Even though both groups sustained roughly the same number of falls during that time, the treatment group suffered 80 percent fewer fractures. They also saw their homocysteine levels drop, whereas in the patients taking placebos, levels of the amino acid increased.
Just how homocysteine weakens bones isn't clear, but the scientists think it may interfere with how strands of collagen, bones' chief protein, connect with each other.
If you'd like to get some of your B vitamins from food, you'll find lots of folic acid in beans and leafy green veggies; vitamin B-12 is plentiful in meat, seafood, and fortified cereals.. [back to Health & Medical Info...]