Vitamin D insufficiency, high vitamin A linked to high risk of osteoporosis

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By David Liu, PHD

Monday Feb 25, 2013 ( -- Vitamin d deficiency or insufficiency is known to be detrimental for bone health.  A new study in Archives of Osteoporosis suggests that excessively high levels of vitamin A or retinol can worsen the negative effect of vitamin D insufficiency on bone mass in postmenopausal women.

J. M. Mata-Granados from Department of I+D+I, Sanyres Group from Córdoba, Spain and colleagues conducted the study and found postmenopausal women with vitamin d deficiency and high serum levels of vitamin A or retinol were eight times more likely than women who had lowest levels of vitamin A to be diagnosed with osteoporosis.
For the study, the researchers analyzed data on bone mass, serum calcium, albumin phosphorus, creatinine, total high density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein, cholesterol, and triglycerides, vitamin D and vitamin A levels from 232 healthy postmenopausal women.

It was found that the risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women with the highest retinol levels was about eight times higher than those with the lowest retinol levels.  Among women with vitamin D lower than 20 ng/mL, those who also had the highest blood levels of retinol had significantly increased risk of osteoporosis, compared with those with the lowest retinol levels.

The researchers concluded "Higher retinol levels together with vitamin D deficiency could be a significant additional risk factor for osteoporosis, underscoring the need for improved physician and public education regarding optimization of vitamin D status in postmenopausal women and developing policies to avoid high serum levels of vitamin A."

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