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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2006 Apr;15(3):295-300.

Antioxidant vitamin supplements and markers of bone turnover in a community sample of nonsmoking women.

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  • 1The University of Melbourne, Department of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences, Barwon Health, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.



Whereas several epidemiological studies suggest that low dietary intake of vitamins C and E is linked to increased hip fracture in smokers and antioxidants (dietary and endogenous) are reduced in elderly osteoporotic women, none has demonstrated an effect of supplemental antioxidants on bone turnover.


In an observational study of 533 randomly selected women, we investigated the associations among the use of antioxidant supplements, vitamins C and E, serum levels of biochemical markers of bone turnover (C-telopeptide [CTx] and bone-specific alkaline phosphatase [BSAP]), and whole body bone mineral density (BMD).


Twenty-two women were identified as current users of supplemental vitamin C or E. Duration of antioxidant supplement use was negatively associated with age-adjusted and weight-adjusted serum CTx, such that mean CTx levels (natural log transformed) were 0.022 units lower for each year of exposure. No significant differences were detected for adjusted serum BSAP or whole body BMD.


Our results suggest that antioxidant vitamin E or C supplements may suppress bone resorption in nonsmoking postmenopausal women. Coupling of bone formation and resorption may explain the absence of an effect on bone formation markers, given evidence of enhanced effects of antioxidants on osteoblast differentiation; this warrants further investigation. This work adds to the growing body of evidence that antioxidants may play a role in preventing osteoporosis.

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