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J Clin Epidemiol. 1990;43(7):693-9.

Retinol, supplemental vitamin A and bone status.

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Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109.


Studies of hypervitaminosis A in animals and anecdotal reports of accidental vitamin A poisoning in humans suggest impairment of bone remodeling and increased numbers of fractures. Because of the widespread use of high-dose vitamin A supplements which may produce subclinical hypervitaminosis associated with decreased bone mass and increased risk of fracture, we studied the relationship between current vitamin A supplement use, serum retinol levels, radial bone mass and fracture history in a geographically-defined population of 246 postmenopausal women, 55-80 years of age. More than 36% of this population used a vitamin A supplement with 8% of these consuming an amount in excess of 2000 retinol equivalents (RE)/day. Serum retinol was measured using high-pressure liquid chromatography and radial bone mass was measured using single photon absorptiometry. After controlling for age, current estrogen replacement, and current thiazide antihypertensive use, we observed no statistically significant relationship between vitamin A supplement use or serum retinol with radial bone mass or fractures.

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