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    Vitamin C: Good for Your Bones

    Vitamin C linked to Reduced Bone Loss in Older Men

    Vitamin C and Bones: Study Results continued...

    "At one hip site [of two measured], for example, men in the highest intake group, who took in 314 milligrams of vitamin C a day in food and supplements but had low calcium intake, did not lose bone density on average," she says, ''whereas those in the lowest group, who took in 106 milligrams, lost 5.6% of their bone."

    "The only significant effects on bone loss were found in men who were low in vitamin E or calcium," she says.

    Why no effect was not seen in women is complicated, Tucker says. The effects of vitamin C may interact with estrogen use, calcium, and vitamin E, she notes.

    Vitamin C and Bones: Second Opinion

    The new finding is "interesting and plausible," says Robert P. Heaney, MD, professor at John A. Creighton University in Omaha and a longtime researcher in osteoporosis.

    "There is good biology behind it," he says. "If you don't have enough vitamin C, you don't make bones right. Collagen is the principal protein of bones, accounting for nearly half the volume. What the collagen does is prevent bones from coming apart."

    In recent years, says Heaney, researchers have found that maintaining bone density requires not just getting enough calcium, but also vitamin D and protein. Now, more evidence is emerging about the important role of vitamin C and bones as well, he says.

    Vitamin C and Bones: Advice

    The new research isn't a call to dose up with supplements, Tucker says. She believes in getting as much vitamin C as possible from fruits and vegetables, supplementing with a vitamin tablet if necessary.

    Getting enough vitamin D and calcium is also still important for bone maintenance, she says.

    Heaney agrees and adds this advice: "Eat a good diet. Exercise, walk, skip rope, jog.''

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