Medical science has known for more than a century that vitamin C is essential to prevent scurvy, and more recently has been demonstrated to help prevent deterioration of the delicate inner endothelial lining of the arteries supplying the heart. In this way, vitamin C prevents vascular dysfunction that often leads to heart attack and cardiovascular disease. In recent years, there has been debate on the recommended daily requirement for vitamin C and the optimal amount necessary to halt catastrophic disease.
NASA scientists have now discovered a way by which the bone condition of osteoporosis can be detected in the early stage of the condition.
Scientists from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine have published the result of a study in the journal PLoS ONE demonstrating for the first time that vitamin C actively protects against osteoporosis, a disease affecting large numbers of elderly women and men in which bones become brittle and can fracture. Lead study researcher, Dr. Mone Zaidi explained "This study has profound public health implications, and is well worth exploring for its therapeutic potential in people"
Vitamin C supplementation provides a natural treatment for those at risk of osteoporosis
To conduct their study, researchers working with mice known to simulate bone formation in a manner consistent with human biology, worked with female mice with reduced bone density and compared with a control group of normal animals. Dr. Zaidi noted "The medical world has known for some time that higher vitamin C intake is associated with higher bone mass in humans... this study shows that large doses of vitamin C actively stimulates bone formation to protect the skeleton by inducing osteoblasts, or premature bone cells, to differentiate into mature, mineralizing specialty cells."
The mice exhibiting reduced bone density were divided into two groups, one of which was supplemented with large doses of vitamin C over a period of eight weeks, and a second non-supplemented group. The scientists then measured the bone mineral density in the lumbar spine, femur, and tibia bones, and compared it to those animals not receiving vitamin C supplementation.
The study team found those mice not receiving the vitamin C supplementation had a much lower bone mineral density (BMD) as compared to the control groups. Supplemented animals retained normal BMD, suggesting vitamin C prevented BMD loss in this group. Dr. Zaidi concluded "Further research may discover that dietary supplements may help prevent osteoporosis in humans." The researchers also commented that vitamin C could provide a natural method to maintain bone health without the use of expensive and dangerous pharmaceuticals in many aging adults at risk for osteoporosis.
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