Antioxidants and Exercise to Prevent Osteoporosis Greensboro NC

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Daniel F Murphy, MD
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Antioxidants and Exercise to Prevent Osteoporosis

Antioxidants and Exercise May Prevent Osteoporosis.
Date: Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Source: Osteoporosis International
Related Monographs: Osteoporosis, Vitamin C, Vitamin E
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Osteoporosis is characterized by abnormally low bone mass, micro-architectural deterioration of bone tissue leading to increased bone fragility, and a consequent increase in fracture risk. The term osteoporosis is widely used clinically to mean generalized loss of bone, or osteopenia, accompanied by relatively atraumatic fractures of the spine, wrist, hips, or ribs. It is manifested clinically as fractures, and, on noninvasive quantitative imaging tests, as low bone density. Osteoporotic fractures, particularly in aging women, represent a major health problem in industrialized nations. In the United States, approximately 150,000 hip fractures occur annually in women over age 65, with 15 percent to 25 percent of these women experiencing excess mortality or needing long-term nursing home care. While a certain amount of bone loss seems inevitable with the passage of time, the process is not entirely beyond our control. Dietary and lifestyle measures can, to some degree, help maintain bone health. Poor nutrition and other health habits such as smoking, alcohol abuse, and physical inactivity contribute to bone loss. Exercise, especially through activities like walking that put pressure on the weight-bearing bones, stimulates bone remodeling.

Vitamin E is an extremely important fat-soluble antioxidant. It insures the stability and integrity of cellular tissues and membranes throughout the body by preventing free radical damage. In addition to its antioxidant activity, vitamin E may support overall cardiovascular and circulatory health. It may also support the immune system and vision. During heavy exercise, vitamin E may also reduce the amount of exercise-induced free radical damage to the blood and tissues while helping the body reduce the incidence of exercise-induced muscle injury.

Vitamin C also known as ascorbic acid is an essential nutrient for humans. It corrects the world's oldest known nutritional deficiency, the disease scurvy. It was first isolated by Albert Szent Gyorgyi in 1928. Today, scientists know that humans are one of the few species that cannot manufacture vitamin C in the body. Humans must depend on diet or nutritional supplements as the source of this vitamin. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that is stored in many tissues throughout the body, but the adrenal glands contain the highest concentration. It is involved with the production of collagen and elastin, which are necessary for the health of skin, tendons, joints, bones, teeth and blood vessels.

To determine the effect of antioxidants and exercise on osteoporosis, a study was conducted on healthy postmenopausal women. The trial included 34 postmenopausal women who were then randomized into one of four groups: placebo; antioxidants; exercise and placebo; or exercise and antioxidants. The trial lasted for six months. The antioxidant supplements consisted of 600 mg vitamin E and 1,000 mg vitamin C daily while the exercise groups participated in resistance training three times per week. The results revealed a significant decline in bone mineral density of the lumbar spine in the placebo group while it remained stable in all other groups. It was determined that antioxidant vitamins may provide some protection against bone loss to the same extent as resistance exercise although combining both does not seem to produce additional effects. The researchers concluded that based on these findings further studies should be performed to examine the impact of antioxidant supplements on the prevention of osteoporosis.1

1 Chuin A, Labonte M, Tessier D, et al. Effect of antioxidants combined to resistance training on BMD in elderly women: a pilot study. Osteoporos Int. Jul2009;20(7):1253-8.

This information is educational in context and is not to be used to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Please consult your licensed health care practitioner before using this or any medical information.
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