Osteoporosis Vitamin Information

During menopause, decreased hormone levels can contribute to a deficiency in vitamins and minerals. Because some vitamins may interfere with certain medicines, before taking any vitamin or mineral supplements, talk with your health care practitioner about the effectiveness and viability of dietary supplementation for your situation.

Vitamin Information

Vitamin A: Necessary for normal bone remodeling. In people with a vitamin A deficiency, new bone forms faster than old bone can be removed and abnormal bone formation occurs. Milk, eggs and organ meat, especially liver, are good sources of vitamin A.

Vitamin B6: Necessary for the absorption of useful minerals from dietary calcium sources. Read meat, fish and poultry are sources of dietary vitamin B6.

Vitamin C: Promotes the formation of collagen, which is used in organic bone matrix formation, and aids in the synthesis of structural proteins found in bone. Well-known sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits; other sources include deep green leafy vegetables and potatoes. Vitamin C in fresh foods is destroyed by light, oxygen and heat. A vitamin C supplement can be added to a diet that does not meet the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of 65 to 80 mg. Some sources recommend a daily intake of 500 to 1000 mg. Taking mega-doses of vitamin C is a controversial issue and should be discussed with your physician.

Vitamin D: Even a slight decrease in vitamin D can contribute to osteoporosis. Vitamin D enhances the uptake of calcium in the intestines thereby allowing more calcium to be available for deposition into bones. Women concerned about bone density and calcium supplements should ensure their intake of vitamin D is adequate. Egg yolks, liver and fortified milk are good dietary sources of vitamin D.

Normally, the kidney activates vitamin D from a precursor synthesized in the skin in a reaction involving sunlight. Reduced exposure to the sun can inadvertently contribute to vitamin D deficiency, with subsequent bone damage. Such conditions have been described, and are referred to as rickets when observed in children, and osteomalacia when observed in adults. When the cause of the deficiency is a poorly functioning kidney, the associated bone weakening is referred to as renal osteodystrophy.

The National Academy of Sciences recommends 200 to 400 international units (IU) per day of vitamin D. Women over seventy should take up to 600 IU. One good source of vitamin D is milk, which is often fortified with both vitamins D and A.

Vitamin K: Required for normal bone metabolism. The RDA of vitamin K for women is 65 micrograms a day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables (also good calcium sources), and many other foods. Research shows that women who take a sufficient daily amount of vitamin K are less likely to suffer hip fractures (Finn, 2000).

Resources

Alzubaidi, N.H., Chapin, H.L., Vanderhoof, V.H., Calis, K.A.