The Role of Vitamin C in Reducing Oxidative Stress in Osteoporosis

There is much emphasis on calcium to prevent bone mass loss and conditions like osteroporosis, but did you know Vitamin C and other nutrients are also critical for bone health?

Dr. Michael Karlfeldt, ND, PhD talks about the role Vitamin C and other antioxidants and minerals besides calcium play in optimal bone density, maintenance and health. 

A great deal of misinformation has been propagated regarding the nature and proper treatment of osteoporosis. Although osteoporotic bone is certainly very deficient in calcium, taking calcium does not resolve nor improve osteoporosis, not even a little. 

Osteoporosis is a "focal scurvy" or Vitamin C deficiency of the bones. A restoration of an appropriate balance of antioxidants lead by Vitamin C is critical to reversal of this disease, and subsequent growth of new, healthy bone.

This paper from 2012 and the following from 2015 explain more about the essential role of Vitamin C in bone health:

"Low vitamin C intake is associated with low bone mass and a high fracture risk. More importantly, persuasive epidemiological evidence suggests that higher vitamin C intake is associated with higher bone mass, as well as reduced fracture risk over a 17-year follow-up."



Appropriate mineral intake is also essential for optimal function of these different antioxidants in the bone.



How does deficiency of antioxidants damage bone structure?

Where antioxidants are severely deficient, there is typically a marked increase in oxidative stress. So, just as a fire might oxidize and burn the ignited wood, the increased oxidative damage in osteoporotic bones, decomposes it and burns it over time. As well, chemically both the wood and bones become oxidized.

To say that osteoporotic bone is a result of calcium deficiency is no different than saying that the remaining ash from burned wood is a condition of smoke deficiency. Just as there is no way to restore the normal structure of burned wood with smoke that comes out of it, there is no way to eliminate osteoporosis from normal bone with the calcium that emanates from it.

Many factors are involved in bone health. It's not just a matter of taking calcium tablets. We must also consider digestive issues, hormonal factors, and pH levels are just a few considerations that need addressing when restoring deficiencies that can ultimately lead to chronic bone loss. 

Photo by Kristen Kaethler on Unsplash. 

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