Carotenoids Linked to Bone Health

Two recent published articles have shown that plant-derived antioxidants called carotenoids may prevent against bone loss and also lower the risk of hip fractures in older people.

The articles were the result of a 17-year study from Tufts University, Hebrew SeniorLife, and Boston University, which looked at participants' total and individual carotenoid consumption based on a food frequency questionnaire. The carotenoids being tracked included alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, and lutein plus zeaxanthin

The first article, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that an increased intake of carotenoids was associated with protection against bone mineral density loss at the lumbar spine in women and the hip in men.

Researchers concluded it may be possible to prevent bone loss by increasing the intake of carotenoids such as lycopene, which is found in tomatoes and other red fruits.

The second article to come out of the study, just published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, reports that increased intakes of carotenoids may lower the risk of hip fracture in older men and women. Over the course of 17 years of follow-up, the researchers documented 100 hip fractures. The highest average intake of all carotenoids was associated with a significantly lower risk of hip fracture, said the researchers.

Of the individual carotenoids studied, lycopene was found to have the greatest protective effect, with higher lycopene intake associated with a lower risk of hip fracture, and non-vertebral fracture. People who consumed more than 4.4 servings/week of lycopene had significantly fewer fractures.

About the results of the study reported in the two studies, researchers said, "These results suggest a protective role of several carotenoids for bone health in older adults."

Bone loss can eventually lead to osteoporosis, a disease affecting millions of people worldwide in which the bones become weak and fragile. Already the lifetime risk for a woman to have an osteoporotic fracture is 30-40% and in men the risk is about 13%.

There is a way to ensure that you get the necessary, and even optimal, amounts of carotenoids on a daily basis. Our Basic Nutrient Support contains a carotenoid complex as well as additional lycopene , tomato fruit, beta-carotene from vitamin A and a fruits and greens complex.