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Vitamin C Protects Bone Health in Older Adults: Study

April 13th, 2009

Vitamin C: Good for Bones, Too

Vitamin C: Good for Bones, Too.

Look at a few bone formulas and you’ll see the same nutrients popping up again and again; calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D for example.  One nutrient you won’t see very often in bone formulas is vitamin C.  There are plenty of benefits already ascribed to vitamin C – immune support, cardiovascular health,  would healing – but support for bone health isn’t frequently mentioned.  That may change, and so might the next generation of bone support formulas, thanks to a recent Tufts University Study.
The study tracked almost one thousand men and women with a mean age of 75 over a 15-17 year period.  Using dietary questionnaires,  the researchers estimated vitamin C intake of each subject, ranking the results from highest to lowest. Then, they tracked the incidence of hip and vertebral fractures over that period of time. What they found was that those with the highest intake of vitamin C had significantly lower occurrence of both kinds of fractures, and this was true for both vitamin C supplement users and non-users.

Given the prevalence  of degenerative bone disease like osteoporosis  – which threatens 44 million Americans, or 55 percent of those over 50 – and given vitamin C’s already established safety, low cost, this is a very positive finding.  Those concerned with nutritional support for bone health have quite a few options if they wish to begin supplementing  with vitamin C.

Keep in mind that regardless of what kind of vitamin C supplement you choose, vitamin C needs to be taken 2-3 times a day for best results since it gets used up quickly and cannot be stored by the body.

If for some reason that’s impossible, once-a-day is better than not at all. While there are time-release vitamin C supplements available, they are among the least popular with experienced supplement users  since time-release tablets are designed to breakdown slowly,  whereas these users typically prefer vitamin C supplements that break down and absorb quickly.

A better option would be a  500 mg capsule of vitamin C with bioflavonoids. Take one capsule 2-3 times per day, for example, morning, afternoon and evening,

If you already take a lot of capsules and tablets, there are some great vitamin C products that come in  other formats. They can be just as good as other vitamin C supplements, but you pay a lot more for your vitamin C on a dollars-per-gram basis. However, unflavored vitamin C powders are the opposite, the most-effective way to use vitamin C.

For example, flavored effervescent vitamin C drink mixes like Emergen-C by Alacer and Effer-C by NOW Foods can be added to shakes or other drinks, or consumed as a stand-alone beverage. One nice feature of the Vitamin C drink mixes is that they also supply a host of other nutrients like B-vitamins.

Effervescent vitamin C drink mixes are popular and easy-to-use.

Effervescent vitamin C drink mixes are popular and easy-to-use.

Vitamin C certainly won’t take the place of the other more well-known bone builders like calcium and magnesium, and should therefore be used in addition to these critical bone factors. But users should find it easy to use both products since the high doses of minerals they contain are  – like vitamin  C – ideally taken in 2-3 divided doses per day.

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