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Low Vitamin B12 Levels Associated With Increased Fracture Risk

It’s been well established that both calcium and vitamin D are necessary for good bone health. Now a recent study has found that vitamin B12 may also be essential, as low levels of the vitamin were associated with a higher risk of fractures in mature men.

Participants in the study included 1,000 men with an average age of 75. The researchers measured blood concentrations of vitamin B12 and folate. They used a fairly new method called holotranscobalamin, which measures the amount of vitamin B12 that is taken up in the cells.

This method is considered to be the most sensitive test for vitamin B12 deficiency.

During the 6 year follow up period, 110 of the participants had X-ray verified fractures. Forty-five of those men had clinical vertebral fractures.

After controlling for lifestyle factors such as age, smoking, BMI, and physical activity (among others), the researchers found that the men with the lowest levels of vitamin B12 were 70% more likely to suffer from a fracture. When they looked at fractures in the lumbar region, that risk was increased by as much as 120%.

No association was found between folate levels and fracture risk.

Researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden conducted the study. It was published in the October 2013 issue of Osteoporosis International.

Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin that is essential to the proper function of the brain, nervous system and formation of blood. Deficiencies in vitamin B12 can lead to fatigue, depression and memory lapses.

Food sources of vitamin B12 include liver, turkey giblets, oysters, clams, king crab and whole milk. If your diet is not rich in these products, you should consider supplementing with a high quality multivitamin or vitamin B12 supplement.

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