Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Vitamin E: Bone Formation

Oxidative stress and the rampant production of pro-inflammatory cytokines are major causes of chronic disease--including osteoporosis. When estrogen levels decline at menopause there is a sharp rise in free radicals in a women's body. Radicals such as reactive oxygen species (ROS) evoke the excessive production of signaling molecules called pro-inflammatory cytokines. These molecules, when produced in excess during oxidative stress, stimulate aggressive osteoclastic, bone destroying, activity. The result is rapid bone loss, and eventually osteoporosis. You would think, therefore, that any and all nutrients with antioxidant activity, especially the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, would be beneficial to individuals with osteoporosis. Oddly, there have been very few studies looking at the association between vitamin E and bone loss and the only major study (Wolf et al., 2005) to at least partially look at tocopherols, found no association between vitamin E intake and bone mineral density (BMD). This substudy, unfortunately, only looked at the benefits of short-term vitamin E intake on bone mineral density. (Dietary effects on bone density occur over the long-term.) Laboratory bone turnover markers (BTMs), on the other hand, have been shown to better reflect the dietary (or supplemental) effects on bone metabolism.

This superior method (BTMs vs BMD) of analyzing the effects of diet and supplements on bone was used in a recent study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research (Hamidi et al., 2012). The authors examined the association between vitamin E intake and BTMs in postmenopausal women.

Alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol are the two predominant forms of vitamin E. Alpha-tocopherol (found in nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, leafy green vegetables, etc) is a better antioxidant, while gamma-tocopherol (soybeans, corn, canola oil, seeds, and nuts) has better anti-inflammatory properties. 

The study found "a significant positive association between serum gamma-tocopherol, and a significant negative association between the serum ratio of alpha-tocopherol to gamma-tocopherol and BAP" (bone-specific alkaline phosphatase), a marker for bone formation. "There were no associations between any of the vitamin E variables and uNTx/Cr levels." (NTX is a bone resorption biomarker that reflects osteoclastic bone resorption activity.)

The study also found that "high doses of vitamin E supplements suppressed serum gamma-tocopherol levels" and "high serum alpha-tocopherol to gamma-tocopherol ratio was associated with  low BAP levels." [i.e. lower bone formation] The authors "hypothesize that gamma-tocopherol may uncouple bone turnover, resulting in increased bone formation without affecting bone resorption. Vitamin E supplements in the form of alpha-tocopherol suppress serum gamma-tocopherol levels and may have negative impact on bone formation."

Wolf RL et al. 2005. Lack of a relation between vitamin and mineral antioxidants and bone mineral density: Results from the Women's Health Initiative. Am J Clin Nutri 82:581-588.

Hamidi, M.S., Corey, P.N. and Cheung, A.M. 2012. Effects of vitamin E on bone turnover markers among US postmenopausal women. JBMR 94(4):1063-1070.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Selenium: Integral to Bone

Trace minerals, also called micro minerals, are essential to health. They are necessary for the conduction of billions of electrical impulses that keep your body's nervous system functioning. In addition, trace minerals act as co-factors in essential cellular processes and are necessary for hormone production, digestion, utilization of nutrients, production of anti-oxidants, proper immune function, and for maintaining acid-base balance. Although the body requires only minute amounts of trace minerals, when they are deficient from our diets we become susceptible to disease.

In a recently published paper in The Journal of Nutrition (Cao et al., 2012) the authors studied the effects of selenium (a trace mineral) deficiency in mice. They concluded that "selenium deficiency is detrimental to bone microstructure by increasing bone resorption, possibly through increased oxidative stress."

It is estimated that 90% of Americans are deficient in minerals. Over farming and soil depletion, as well as poor diet, are at the root of this deficiency. Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds are good sources of the trace mineral selenium, as is OsteoMineralBoost.  With its mineral-rich red marine algae, OsteoMineralBoost is a great source of trace minerals and perfect for ensuring a consistent intake of selenium. OsteoMineralWhey is also a great source of trace minerals. Try them both!

Cao, J.J., B.R. Gregoire and H Zeng. 2012. Selenium deficiency decreases antioxidative capacity and is detrimental to bone microarchitecture in mice. The Journal of Nutrition 142:1526-1531.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Vitamin D: Safety

Adequate intake of vitamin D is imperative for skeletal and overall health. But what dosage does one take and how much is too much? The only way to ensure you are getting enough vitamin D is to ask your doctor to test. Your goal should be to maintain blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D at 35 to 80 ng/ml.

In an examination of the literature, Dr. Michael Glade (2012) concluded "daily intakes of 600 to 800 IU of vitamin D are insufficient" and that "disease resistance requires daily vitamin D intakes of at least 1,500 IU." As for safety, Dr. Glade concludes "long-term daily intakes of up to and including 10,000 IU of vitamin D maximize physiologic benefits and are safe."

For my patients, I recommend a daily maintenance dose of 2,000 IU. If they are deficient, then I boost their daily intake to 5,000 IU for 2 months before retesting.

Glade, M.J. 2012. A 21st century evaluation of the safety of oral vitamin D. Nutrition 28(4):344-356.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Products Are Here!

Our OsteoNaturals' products are here and ready go. I've been helping people improve their skeletal health for over five years, and now with these new products, it will be a lot easier to get good results. I'm pretty excited. Welcome to OsteoNaturals!
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