If you were a sailor three hundred years ago, you were at a very high risk of death from a serious deficiency in vitamin C known as scurvy – until it was discovered that a daily dose of lime juice would keep the deadly disease at bay. Today, vitamin C is known to do far more for the body than prevent scurvy. The PLoS ONE journal has recently published results of a study conducted by researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine with regards to vitamin C and osteoporosis. Elderly men and women are at the greatest risk of bone fracture due to a decrease in bone strength and researchers at Mount Sinai feel that vitamin C could play an active role in maintaining bone strength and preventing fractures caused by brittle bones.
Preventing Low Bone Density, Stimulating Bone Formation with Vitamin C
A group of female mice with low bone density was compared to a control group of female mice with normal bone density. The group of mice with low bone density was separated into two groups with one group receiving vitamin C supplementation over the eight week study period and the other group no supplementation. Bone mineral density was measured in both groups at the end of the study period in three places, the femur, the tibia bones and the lumbar spine.
The bone mineral density of un-supplemented mice did not change over the eight weeks. Comparatively, the group that was not supplemented experienced a considerable loss in bone density. Lead researcher Dr. Mone Zaidi commented that although medical professionals acknowledge the relationship between vitamin C supplementation and increased bone mass, the study demonstrates that mega doses of vitamin C actually encourage bone formation that protects the skeleton.
Researchers believe that it may be possible to prevent the development of osteoporosis in humans naturally using vitamin C supplementation. Tapping into this nutritional powerhouse is a cost efficient and safe alternative to expensive and sometimes dangerous pharmaceutical drugs.
Other Vitamin C Benefits
In addition to preventing low bone density, recent research has demonstrated that vitamin C prevents vascular dysfunction by maintaining the integrity of the fragile lining of arteries leading to the heart. Although there is still much discussion around the exact daily dosage of vitamin C necessary to protect the heart, the connection is evident. Vitamin C has also been linked to the reduction of wrinkles as noted by a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.