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J Nutr. 2002 Jun;132(6):1169-72.

Short-term vitamin A supplementation does not affect bone turnover in men.

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  • 1Institute on Aging, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA. tnkawahara@facstaff.wisc.edu


Limited data in humans and animals indicate that excess vitamin A stimulates bone resorption and inhibits bone formation, effects that over time might lead to bone loss and fracture. Thus, it is possible that vitamin A supplementation is a currently unrecognized risk factor for the development of osteoporosis. To further evaluate this possibility, a prospective, randomized, single-blind study of vitamin A supplementation was conducted in 80 healthy men age 18-58 y. One half received 7576 microg (25,000 IU) of retinol palmitate daily with their evening meal; the others took a placebo. Blood was collected from fasting subjects and serum prepared at baseline and after 2, 4 and 6 wk of supplementation. Serum bone specific alkaline phosphatase (BSAP) and N-Telopeptide of type 1 collagen (NTx) were measured at all time points. Serum osteocalcin (Oc) was measured at baseline and after 6 wk of supplementation. BSAP, NTx and Oc did not differ between the supplemented and placebo-treated groups over the course of the study. In conclusion, short-term vitamin A supplementation at this dosage in healthy men does not alter serum markers of skeletal turnover. Thus, it is unlikely that short-term administration of vitamin A would contribute to the development of osteoporosis. Whether long-term vitamin A supplementation might have adverse skeletal effects remains to be determined.

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