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Is there a connection between vitamin E and osteoporosis?
Researchers in Japan believe there may be. Early findings suggest that the most common form of vitamin E causes the body to produce more bone-degrading cells. The compound, alpha-tocopherol, is found in most dietary supplements and in olive and other vegetable and nut oils.
Vitamin E has long been promoted for its antioxidant properties. Scientists have connected it to a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, explains the Telegraph. However, when mice were given a dose similar to that found in supplements, their bones thinned and after 8 weeks they developed osteoporosis.
The results were different when researchers gave mice delta-tocopherol, the less common form of vitamin E. It is usually only found in natural foods and in supplements that contain "mixed" tocopherols.
This is the second recent study to question the health benefits of vitamin E. Late last year, researchers found that vitamin E can actually increase the risk of prostate cancer in men. The double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that men who took a daily dose of 400 IU had a 17% increased risk of developing the disease.
Research into the connection vitamin E and osteoporosis and other ailments will continue. Scientists plan to monitor the effects of the supplement on human bone health and have called for expanded research, according to AFP. But until that research has concluded, it might be wise to have a conversation with your doctor about your own health and any vitamins you take.