According to a new study, older men with lower than normal levels of vitamin B12 have a higher risk of getting fractures.
Osteoporosis is a global affliction. Health experts are working to identify the underlying causes so as to be able to prevent this condition and lower the risk of fractures in people as they age.
In this study, part of an international research project, researchers examined the relationship between levels of vitamin B12 and risk of fractures in older men at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
1,000 Swedish men with an average age of 75 years were included in this study. Their blood concentrations of vitamin B12 and folate - both of which are found naturally in food - were analyzed. To do this, the researchers used a relatively new method which measures the amount of vitamins taken up into cells, which is a very sensitive test for vitamin B12 deficiency.
The researchers found that the risk of suffering a fracture six years later was higher among men who had low B12 levels at the beginning of the study. The risk was higher by nearly 70% in men who had the lowest levels of B12. This increase in risk was related mainly to fractures in the lumbar region, where the risk increase was up to 120%.
Higher risk remained even when other risk factors were taken into consideration - including age, smoking, body mass index (BMI), bone mineral density, previous fractures, physical activity, vitamin D content and calcium intake.
Do these results mean that older men can prevent fractures simply by consuming more vitamin B12?
Studies to answer this question are under way, including one large Dutch study where older people over the age of 65 years are being treated with a combination of vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamin D to investigate their effects on the incidence of fractures.
Right now, there is no reason for you and me to take more vitamin B12, which should only be given in confirmed cases of deficiencies and in some instances to prevent deficiencies from happening.
If you want to strengthen your bones and lower your risk of fractures, remember to be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day - and if you’re a smoker, quitting would be a good idea too.
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