In a study reported in Nature Medicine, Fujita et al. show that vitamin E in the alpha-tocopherol form is detrimental to bone health. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that protects against oxidative stress and the development of atherosclerosis. With oxidative stress being a major contributor to the development of osteoporosis, at first glance one would consider the antioxidant activity of vitamin E to be beneficial to bone health. Unfortunately, vitamin E’s ability to reduce oxidative stress does not seem to counterbalance its negative effect on bone.

In this study out of Japan, mice supplemented with alpha-tocopherol showed reduced bone mass. The researchers found that vitamin E actually reduced bone density by increased a key protein that promoted osteoclastic bone resorption and accelerated bone loss. They concluded that “excess vitamin E is bad for the bones in humans…”

Please take note: If you supplement with vitamin E or take a multivitamin, make sure to read the label. Only use quality nutritional supplements that contain natural mixed tocopherols that are high in gamma-tocopherol.

Fujita et al. 2012. Vitamin E decreases bone mass by stimulating osteoclast fusion. Nature Medicine 18(4):589-594.