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Antioxidants May Boost Bone Health in Post-Menopausal Women

Postmenopausal women may be able to protect themselves from bone loss by combining antioxidant supplementation and resistance training, according to a pilot study to be published in the July 2009 issue of the journal Osteoporosis International.

A team led by Isabelle Dionne, PhD, from the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec, recruited 34 postmenopausal women with an average age of 66 for the study.

The women were randomly assigned to one of four groups for a period of 6 months:

1) placebo and no exercise

2) antioxidants and no exercise

3) placebo plus exercise

4) antioxidants plus exercise

The women in the antioxidant groups received 600 mg vitamin E and 1,000 mg vitamin C on a daily basis.

The researchers measured bone mineral density of the hip and spine and dietary intakes (3-day food record) before and after the intervention.

They found that the only group to lose bone mass was the placebo and no exercise group.

The mechanisms behind these results are still somewhat unclear.  However the researchers said a study published earlier this year may provide some insight.

Researchers from Tufts University, Hebrew SeniorLife, and Boston University, conducted the previous study which was published in the January 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

They found that increased intakes of antioxidants called carotenoids resulted in a decrease in bone resorption.

Bone resorption is the process by which bones are broken down and dissolved into minerals like calcium, phosphates and salts, thereby weakening the bones.  Studies have shown that oxidative stress, which can be reduced by antioxidants, may increase bone resorption.

Bone resorption is natural, but can be accelerated as you age, potentially leading to osteoporosis and fractures.  Women are four times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.

Getting more antioxidants in your diet via increased consumption of fruits and vegetables may be a good way to boost bone health and offset bone resorption.

Maintaining balanced acid-alkaline levels and consuming more calcium and vitamin D have also been shown to support healthy bones.

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