Researchers in Japan have found that the intake of vitamin E; popular in health supplements for its anti-ageing action; can lead to osteoporosis.
If you have been popping a vitamin E supplement fascinated by its antioxidant action and effects on skin and ageing in general, it is time to think again. Recent research in Japan has shown that there could be a link between consuming high levels of vitamin E and osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a degenerative disease in which the bone tissue grows thinner as the bone becomes less dense with time. Elderly women are more prone to this disease that causes bones to become brittle and highly susceptible to fractures.
A team of scientists from the Keio University of Japan studied the effect of vitamin E on mice when administered at a level much higher than that of their natural diet. The mice were found to manifest osteoporosis after consuming this diet for about eight weeks.
The researchers explain that in the mice, vitamin E enhanced the production of cells that are responsible for bone degradation and this was probably responsible for the osteoporosis effect.
Shu Takeda, team leader, said:
“It is possible that with the volume (of vitamin E) contained in health supplements, bones may become fragile.”
The researchers had previously found during the course of their experiments that mice with a genetically-generated deficiency of vitamin E exhibited higher bone density. This finding led to the conjecture that vitamin E had a inhibitory effect on maintenance of bone density. This influenced the research team to study the effects of vitamin E supplements on bone density.
The study has been published in the journal Nature Medicine.