Are You Getting Enough Vitamin C to Protect Your Bones?
For years we've been told that we need to take calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and other vitamins, to protect our bones and slow bone loss. But do we need vitamin C also? These vitamin and minerals are key nutrients essential for bone collagen matrix. When we have a sufficient amount of collagen, in our bones, they are stronger and more resistant to fracture.
In the article: The Relation of Dietary Vitamin C Intake to Bone Mineral Density: Results from the PEPI Study author, S.L. Hall M.D., PhD. MPH, explains the importance of this vitamin in conjunction with calcium to improve bone mineral density (BMD) at three skeletal sites.
The group studied consisted of 775 Caucasian women between the ages of 45-64. Age adjustment for the group was accomplished for total hip, femoral neck and spine, to determine the efficacy of the combination of calcium and vitamin C on BMD.
The group was divided by those taking 500 milligrams or more of calcium and vitamin C, and those taking less than 500 mgs of calcium and C. For those taking ≤ 500 milligrams of calcium and C the BMD increases were marginal, but in the group taking ≥ 500 milligrams of calcium and C increases at all tested skeletal sites were quite different with an increase in bone density. According to Dr. Hall, Although the relation between vitamin C and lumbar spine BMD was of marginal statistical significance in the total sample, among women ingesting higher calcium, a statistically significant association was observed (beta = 0.0199, P = 0.024). These data are consistent with a positive association of vitamin C with BMD in postmenopausal women with dietary calcium intakes of at least 500 mg (Hall Calcif Tissue Int. 1998 Sep; 63(3):183-9).
Since this study proved we can raise our bone mineral density with a combination of at least 500 mgs of calcium given in conjunction with vitamin C, then vitamin C is a vital nutrient. Interestingly, was the fact that these gains were not seen in the group taking the lower amount of calcium (≤ 500 mgs) and C.
If you'd like to increase your vitamin C levels with dietary intakes, below is a list of some of the vegetables and fruits with the highest amounts of vitamin C.
Fruits and Vegetables with Vitamin C
Apple (whole) 8 mgs
Oranges (whole) 70 mgs
Avocado (whole) 16 mgs
Lemon (slice) 3 mgs
Banana (whole) 11 mgs
Tamarillo red (whole) 40 mgs
Grapefruit (slice) 44 mgs
Pineapple (slice) 13 mgs
Guava (whole) 165 mgs
Papaya (slice) 47 mgs
Mango (whole) 60 mgs
Kiwi (whole) 108 mgs
Honeydew (slice) 20 mgs
Tomato (whole) 23 mgs
Cantaloupe (slice) 29 mgs
Pear (whole) 7 mgs
Since many of us are looking for natural ways to improve our bone density, I think this study shows we can do this with the addition of vitamin C to our calcium, D and the other bone nutrients we take.
It's best to get most of our nutrients through diet, so do this as often as you can, and then supplement with vitamins/minerals where it's needed to reach the recommended daily allowance.
1. S.L. Hall, The Relation of Dietary Vitamin D Intake to Bone Mineral Density: Results from the PEPI Study: Calcif Tissue Int. 1998 Sep; 63 (3): 183-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9701620?dopt=Abstract
2. Fruits and Vegetables Vitamin C Content http://www.naturalhub.com/natural_food_guide_fruit_vitamin_c.htm