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New Study: Is Vitamin E Linked To Osteoporosis?

vitamin-e-osteoporosis

There are two sides to every coin, the saying goes. Surprisingly, this also rings true when it comes to scientific studies. I’ll explain.

More often than not, when a study about a natural supplement with an unexpected outcome is published, there’s a frenzy of news articles and broadcast media touting the dangers of the product in question.

But here’s the problem. The articles that end up in most mainstream media reports tend to take bits and pieces of studies, giving incomplete data and basing conclusions on erroneous or limited information… in other words, they’re looking at only one side of the coin.

Why am I talking about this today? Because in the past week or so, quite a few community members have asked me whether Vitamin E is “bad for bones.” This due to a recent study that links Vitamin E supplements to poor bone mass.

The Study vs. the Media Reports

The article published on BBC News trumpeted “Vitamin E May Be Bad for Bones,” saying:

Writing in the journal Nature Medicine, the Keio University team said mice given large doses had lower bone mass – if the same was true in humans, fracture risk would be increased.

Vitamin E is found in oils, green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli and in almonds and hazelnuts.

But a UK expert said supplements could be problematic.1

Could vitamin E, a potent natural antioxidant – and much more – really hurt bones? Not so fast. First, let’s look at the BBC’s article a little more closely:

There’s no mention of the type of Vitamin E used in the study.

Vitamin E comes in both natural and synthetic forms, and there are eight different types of natural Vitamin E: alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol and alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocotrienol). The synthetic form of Vitamin E is tocopheryl acetate. In the BBC article, this is a complete mystery.

The article states that mice given “large doses” had lower bone mass.

The obvious question here is… exactly what is a “large dose”?

So the reader is basically led to believe that all Vitamin E supplements in any dose – enough to be large – “could be problematic”, per the unnamed UK “expert’s” statement.

The research study was published in the Nature Medicine journal on March 4, 2012, and was conducted by a group of scientists at Keio University in Japan.2 A group of mice were given doses of alpha-tocopherol equivalent to what a person would take. The study resulted in loss of bone mass.

Additionally, the observation in another group of mice who were genetically modified to have a chronic alpha tocopherol deficiency, was that this form of Vitamin E,

“… stimulated osteoclast fusion, independent of its antioxidant capacity, by inducing the expression of dendritic-cell–specific transmembrane protein, an essential molecule for osteoclast fusion…” 2

To understand the above quote, we must first…

Put On Our Detective’s Hat

As I write in the Save Our Bones Program, osteoclasts are bone cells that remove old bone to make room for new bone deposition. Without the action of osteoclasts, also known as resorption, bone doesn’t renew itself, so it eventually gets old and fragile.

Most osteoporosis drugs, including the popular bisphosphonates, alter resorption, thus offering a short window of opportunity for bone to remain denser – but not renewed and resilient to fractures.

Osteoclasts are formed when two types of cells fuse together, thus the researchers write “stimulated osteoclast fusion.” So in the above quote, the scientists are clearly saying that vitamin E facilitated osteoclast formation, yet they consider this a problem.

Isn’t this exactly what we should be looking for in order to prevent fractures? The presence of a good number of osteoclasts coupled with proper nutrition and plenty of weight-bearing activity can ensure that bone gets renewed, thus becoming more resistant to fractures. (For a lighthearted explanation of bone remodeling, read this.)

So while Vitamin E is not one of the Foundation Supplements, if you are currently taking it, go ahead and continue without worries.

The Bottom Line

Now you know why reading between the lines can really make a difference. Thankfully, as a Save Our Bones community member, you are ahead of the curve. And I promise you that I will continue to play “detective”, so we can all stay on track.

Take Care of Your Bones

With all the confusing information about bone health, isn’t it nice to know that there’s one program you can follow that’s 100% natural AND doctor approved?

Indeed, the late Dr. Robert Salter – a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon, author, and scientist – recommended the Save Our Bones Program “as essential reading for all persons involved with preventing and treating osteoporosis.”

Save Our Bones Program at a Glance

  • The Save Our Bones Program is a whopping 336 pages thick. Each chapter ends with a ‘Let’s Summarize’ and ‘What This Means To You’ section to make it even easier to follow.
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If you haven’t already, I would love for you to join the thousands from all around the world who are naturally building their bone density with the Save Our Bones Program. That’s why I’ve made it as easy and risk-free as possible for you to get this program and prove to yourself that it will improve your bones and your life.

Stop worrying about your bone health and get started today.

To your bone health!

References

1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17237569
2 “Vitamin E decreases bone mass by stimulating osteoclast fusion.” http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nm.2659.html

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47 comments. Leave Yours Now →

  1. Geraldine Keating March 20, 2014, 4:30 pm

    I am looking forward to learning more about your bone progrem and what your suggestions are to have stronger bones, now and in the future. Thanks for your research studies.

  2. Lyla August 10, 2013, 2:35 pm

    RE Astaxanthin supplement: After reading about this supplement, articles which claimed that FDA had indicated it to be safe; that it had many antioxidant beneficial effects; I took 4mg daily for 40 days. Increasingly, I was experiencing more muscle pain, as well as other symptoms mentioned on Medscape in the section where users may comment. Consequently, I discontinued the supplement, and it seems that I am less troubled by discomforts that I was experiencing: placebo effect perhaps. After doing a renewed Google search, I found trust-worthy information about side effects, one of which is of particular importance to persons as myself with osteoporosis:it reduces blood levels of calcium. I have been following much of what is advocated in your Save our Bones program, and will remember to check out advice there about diet supplements in future. PS Ataxanthin supplementation first came to my attention on same publication which included your program. Perhaps you could comment.

  3. ELSIE March 4, 2013, 4:16 pm

    Just to ask you, about Oceans Alive and Marine D3 , I am following your program, taking supplement and tried this 2 above products, looks like it is good on me. so what is your say, this is in top of doing Save Our Bones Program. and eating organic, juicing, no meat, but take eggs. and milk substitute, Almond Milk, Soy Milk and Coconut Milk and Oil all non GMO.

  4. Nancy February 11, 2013, 9:19 pm

    I have a question on taking a safe product to prevent motion sickness while flying or in a boat. I have tried the pressure point bracelet and ginger tablets from the health food store, but if the plane ride is really rough I still get very sick. Please advise.

  5. myrtlebarker@shaw.ca July 6, 2012, 1:45 pm

    HI VIVIAN:

    I REALLY LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR E-MAILS. YOU ARE SO GOOD TO US, WITH ALL THE

    INFORMATION YOU MUST SPEND HOURS ON THIS. THE INFO. ON THESE DOCTORS ARE

    SOMETHING!

    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. YOUR BOOK IS LIKE A BIBLE TO MOST OF US.

    ALL THE BEST,

    Myrtle B.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA August 24, 2012, 4:27 pm

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Myrtle!

  6. Gloria Bray July 6, 2012, 3:28 am

    I read above that taking too much Vitamin D3 could be dangerous for your heart. I take a 5000 IU capsule and 1000IU in my alge-calcium. Is this too much? I also take vitamin K2 and 500mg of Magnesium. Also have orderd yur Stronium, but had to return it, for I was unable to swallow the pills. I’ve now ordered some from Life Extension and would like to know how much to take. I am on no prescription for my bones and they are horrible. I am afraid of ReClast, which my doctor recommends; took Evista for 11 years and it didn’t help at all and all I take now are the natural supplements mentioned. Please help. I am 82 and have an absolute horror of breaking my back.
    Thank you, Gloria

  7. juvy July 2, 2012, 12:35 pm

    Hello,my dearest vivian,

    Thank you so much for all the informations you have sent to me.I have just come back here in Portugal. I have been in UK.I like here than YK, because I have Rhrumatoid Arthritis. It gets worst in cold Country.I do not take drugs.I was also told I have osteoporosis. My Doctor prescribed me calcium D3 i never take them, because my friend here in Portugal went to her Doctor and she was told to stop taking them because it will cause heart attack. The calcium will clog in the arteries of the heart. so I top my Adcal D3.The doctors do not study the drugs and the side effects or they just want you to take anything so that you will expires quickly they are fed up od all the problems. If people will die the Government will save money.This is true to the retired because they can get free prescription in UK.

  8. Shahfizal Musa April 23, 2012, 11:03 pm

    It is really true, the said article published in Nature Medicine Journal, create havoc in the media. But If you look at the article the authors expressly said back up with evidence, that not all vitamin E have the same effect.

    The Vitamin E that is referred to is tocopherol, and not tocotrienol. tocotrienol however have the opposite effect. This has been consistently proven for 15 years by a researcher by the name of Ima Nirvana Soleiman in The National University of Malaysia

  9. Edith April 16, 2012, 2:05 pm

    I have recently been reading about Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth, which contains Silica. The reports said it will help build bones and helps with many other problems. There has been a lot of positive testimonials to this product, but it definitely has to be Food Grade. Have you heard of it and what is your ideas regarding this product?

    • Ney October 5, 2012, 12:46 pm

      I think the first thing that drew me in with you was your transparency. Love the way you tell relaity. Of course, some folks are just plain scary when they get real, so I’m glad you’re not like that. And yes, the chemicals of your youth do make sense.

  10. Linda April 2, 2012, 11:00 pm

    I feel so stupid asking this question. I hear on this site all the time to drink mineral water. Is that just bottled water?? If not, then where do I get it?

  11. Nicole April 2, 2012, 12:15 pm

    Dear Vivian – Is it possible to download your book on my Amazon Kindle rather than buying the hard copy? It would be so much more convenient for me & I am sure for a lot of your faithful readers as well. Please advise. Thank you so much for all your hard work. You’re truly a life savior – Nicole

  12. mlswk March 30, 2012, 5:54 pm

    P/S I also have just slid iover the line into osteoporosis…….

  13. mlswk March 30, 2012, 5:50 pm

    Since Dec 2010 I have had two sessions of pulmonary emboli and am on Warfarin as well as a diet that restricts all “green” foods…What does that do to my general health -not getting Vit K etc? How can I deal with thisno-no and stay in good health?

    mlswk

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA August 24, 2012, 4:30 pm

      I hope you’re doing better. You might want to check with a naturopathic doctor, since there are several natural alternatives to warfarin.

  14. Vivian March 28, 2012, 11:34 am

    I was recently diagnosed with macular degeneration (eye condition) & the doctor recommended I take PreserVision by Bausch & Lomb vitamins, 2 daily which amounts to 28,640 IU of Vitamin A & 400 IU Vitamin E (di-alpha tocopheryl acetate)daily in addition to Vit. C, Zinc & Copper. I also have what doctors call severe osteoporosis (according to my dexascans). My concern is that this is a very high dosage of Vitamins & if I take them will that worsen my bone density? My last dexascan showed no change from 2+ years ago & I have elected not take any prescription drugs for my osteoporosis. Thank you.

  15. Ann Plumery March 17, 2012, 11:34 am

    I purchased your Save Our Bones program over two years ago and have been receiving your E-mails until several weeks ago. I did not ask to be removed from the E-mail list and would appreciate if I could be added to your E-mail list again.

    • Customer Support March 18, 2012, 10:24 pm

      Hi Ann – I’m not sure why you stopped receiving the emails; it’s possible that you clicked on the “unsubscribe” link in one of the emails by mistake – that’s easy to do. :) To make sure you start receiving Vivian’s emails again, just sign up at this link:

      http://saveourbones.com/get-updates/

  16. Stephanie Hood March 14, 2012, 6:47 pm

    I’m still confused as to the very best calcium/magnesium supplement as I can’t get the proper amount of calcium in my diet. You recommend organic algae calcium. Does chlorella qualify? can you recommend a product?
    Thanks so much for everything!

    • Maureen Hughes April 4, 2012, 7:55 am

      Dear Vivian, I recently heard about a bone program called “Osteo Strong.me” It is supposed to strengthen your bones by exercising on a special machine. There are 4 types of exercises and you push and pull with all your strength for 8 seconds. Can you tell me anything about this and if it is beneficial?

    • Carolyn April 2, 2012, 8:31 pm

      I’m not positive, but I believe New Chapter Bone Strength was recommended awhile ago. It is plant-sourced whole food calcium. I have been using this and was able to purchase it at a health type grocery store.

  17. shila March 14, 2012, 5:33 pm

    hi vivian,
    i have just started reading your articles and i find them very informative and i suffer from ostepania and i am taking calceos and it does help but still my legs hurt everynow and then. i do yoga everyday which helps but i would like to know more on what i should do to get more benefits.

    love shila

  18. LynnCS March 12, 2012, 4:35 pm

    Great info on the Es. I am currently taking “Raw Calcium” from Vitamin Code, and their Raw B complex. I stopped taking a separate D3 as it is in the raw calcium. Hope I am doing the right thing. I exercise at home with weights etc. Please tell me if I am on the right track, so far. I recently broke a couple ribs falling over my rebounder. They seem to be mending ok. that gives me hope. It’s been a while now. Still very sore, especially in bed. I did start lifting weights again a little today. Looking forward to your opinion. Also, what do you think of MSM for joints. I have one knee that is a little bad.

  19. Bobbie Gullo March 12, 2012, 3:54 pm

    I would love your opinion on natural butter vs. all the other, such as Smart Balance, etc. I have been using Take Control for several years, which contains Plant Sterol Esters, but can’t find it anymore. I don’t care for the taste of any of the other substitutes and have been using real butter. However, I worry that this is not good for me. What do you think? Thanks for all your research. It is very helpful. I try to follow your program and have had good reports after going off of Foxamax 3 years ago, which I took for 11 years.

  20. Marilyn March 12, 2012, 3:23 pm

    I LOVE getting your e-mails – they are always so informative! I wanted to share my good news with you – I just had another bone density test and was thrilled to learn that my bone density has stabilized in some areas and INCREASED in many areas! I had a bone density test in 2009 which showed osteopenia and they wanted to put me on their so-called bone building drugs which I declined – so I went online and started doing research. That’s when I discovered your website! I began your program and started taking pilates classes from my beautiful daughter and I do a lot of power walking. Lo and behold it has all paid off! :-) Thank you SO MUCH Vivian! Love, Marilyn

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 13, 2012, 10:02 pm

      Thanks for sharing such wonderful news, Marilyn! And keep up with the Program and your workouts :)

  21. gloria March 12, 2012, 3:19 pm

    I would like to know what is the best calcium tablet to take because i
    have been taking an over the counter calcium tablet for so many yrs. and
    i want to take a supplement that helps my bones.

    • Carolyn Cash March 13, 2012, 9:23 pm

      I also want to know which kind of Calcium is best to take.
      Carolyn Cash

    • Maria Barker March 12, 2012, 6:23 pm

      Yes, I would like to know what is the best calcium to take for osteoporosis>

  22. Judy F March 12, 2012, 3:11 pm

    I am considering ordering your program as I’ve read positive comments about its success. I’ve also considered purchasing a type of exercise equipment called “whole body vibration”. It looks like a doctor’s scale. You step on it and the vibration from it is supposed to stimulate bone growth. Supposedly, it has been used by astronauts who have lost bone mass while in space due to the lack of gravity.

    Do you have any opinions regarding this equipment?

  23. Jerris March 12, 2012, 2:41 pm

    Vivian, Thank you so much for this article. I had stopped taking my whole-food based multi-vitamin, because it contains vitamin E, until you addressed this study as I was sure you would – have been watching for it. I really appreciate your detective work and helping keep us straight!

  24. Anne, South Africa March 12, 2012, 12:47 pm

    I bought your program “Save Our Bones” recently Vivian, and enjoy your newletters. I just received a report from a group I subscribe to and they say that you SHOULD drink milk … because it is good for your bones. I do recall reading that milk is NOT good for the bones. Please advise who is correct?

  25. ken osborn March 12, 2012, 12:17 pm

    All the vitamin e studies I have seen (JAMA/PubMed) have used alpha-tocopherol as the form of vitamin-e. Alpha-topcopherol is just one isomeric form of vitamin-e and will competitively displace other the other forms (such as gamma-tocopherol) creating a deficiency of the other forms. While the alpha form is important, so are the other forms especially gamma-e. Depleting gamma-e, for example, could actually increase some oxidative products (i.e., free radicals) that the alpha-e does not interact with.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 12, 2012, 4:23 pm

      Of course all tocopherols play an important role. However, the reason why alpha tocopherol is mostly mentioned in studies and supplemented is because alpha tocopherol is the most prominent in tissue and plasma.

  26. juvy March 12, 2012, 12:11 pm

    Dearest vivian,

    Thank you very much for all the good informations I have I have read today.I was away then very busy.I love your subjects.

    I will try your Peas or greenpeas. I will try to look the right kind of green peas, because I am not eating peas.I might be buying the wrong peas.i will try to look for the label green peas, is that right? Thank you so much. God Bless you.

    Love from,

    juvy

  27. Linda Greene March 12, 2012, 11:23 am

    I have taken the natural form of Vitamin E since l968 and my bones are in excellent shape. I also take other supplements and ignore studies about any vitamin or supplement. They have a great safety record. Our main concern should be dangerous drugs.

  28. LESLIE March 12, 2012, 10:35 am

    Hi! Vivian,

    Thank You VERY MUCH For Letting Us Learn The Truth About Vitamin E! And PLEASE CONTINUE YOUR DETECTIVE WORK!

    LOVE, MS. L. (LESLIE)

  29. Doug March 12, 2012, 9:53 am

    Does it make a difference if a person exercises before or after breakfast?

  30. Joseph R. Santos, MD March 12, 2012, 6:39 am

    I am a retired physician of over 20 years now; I practice holistic health rather than allopathic medicine. Allopathic medicine has its place but only as a last resort rather than the first. In emergency situations it does save lives, but is a failure proactively as it relates to healthcare. When it comes to osteoporosis, like most degenerative conditions, depends also on the acid/alkaline balance of the body; I subscribe to the Dr. Herman Aihara (Nobel Prize Winner in Medicine in the 50′s) school of thought. I agree with you, who knows what variables were taken into consideration to arrive at their conclusion about Vit.E. docsantos51

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 12, 2012, 10:47 am

      Dr. Santos, it seems that “natural” minds think alike :)

  31. Feona March 12, 2012, 5:21 am

    Thanks, Vivian, for sorting things out and explaining so clearly. I saw the item about Vit E and did wonder whether I should still be taking it. Clearly, the answer is yes.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 12, 2012, 10:46 am

      Amen!

      • LynnCS March 12, 2012, 4:45 pm

        Vivian. I like your short answer, Amen, but want your opinion on whether a diet rich in greens, fruits, etc. is enough. Green smoothies and green juices along with lots of fruits of all kinds are a staple now in my food day. Am I getting enough E?

  32. Avis Mawson March 12, 2012, 3:16 am

    My pharmacist told me, because of the medication I take, I should not take
    Vitamin E so I don’t. So, should everyone enquire regarding their medications as to whether Vitamin E is good or bad? Sometimes I think the
    pharmacists know more than the doctors when it comes to drug use.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 12, 2012, 10:46 am

      Avis, let’s just say that pharmacists live and breathe prescription drugs, while doctors are busy with other things as well… And if you are taking prescription drugs, Vitamin E will often be a “no-no”, since it is a powerful blood thinner. In fact, it is a true blood thinner as compared to Coumarin (warfarin) since the latter blocks Vitamin K, meaning that it interferes with coagulation; it doesn’t really “thin” the blood.
      Keep asking questions :)

      • LynnCS March 12, 2012, 4:54 pm

        Seems like I am bothering you a lot today, but have to ask if that thinning pertains to bruises taking a long time to heal. I did have some bad bruising with my fall and it seems that they are taking a long time to go away. The Raw Calcium does have the MK-7 in it too. Thanks!

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