SUNDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) -- 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
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
Japanese researchers found the opposite may be true, since the
nutrient seems to trigger the production of bone-eroding
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 bone health," Graham said.
The new study, published online March 4 in
Nature Medicine, revealed that mice deficient in vitamin E actually have higher bone mass because there is less bone breakdown. 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
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.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary
Supplements provides more information on