Study Title:

Folic Acid and Vitamin B6 Needed for Bone Health

Study Abstract

Background: Several clinical trials have reported B vitamins to be associated with osteoporosis.

Objective: Our objective was to investigate whether low serum B vitamins are associated with altered structural and biomechanical properties of human bone.

Design: Femoral heads of 94 men and women who underwent hip arthroplasty were analyzed by using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), biomechanical testing (indentation method), and histomorphometry. In addition, blood was collected to measure serum concentrations of homocysteine, folate, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, the bone formation marker osteocalcin, and the bone resorption marker tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP). Measurement outcomes were grouped according to subjects with high and low serum concentrations, respectively, of folate, vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12 (n = 47 for each group).

Results: Histomorphometric analysis showed a significantly lower trabecular thickness and trabecular area in subjects with low serum folate concentrations than in those with high serum folate concentrations and a significantly lower trabecular number in subjects with low serum vitamin B-6 concentrations than in those with high serum vitamin B-6 concentrations. In contrast, we found a comparable trabecular structure in subjects with high and low serum vitamin B-12 concentrations. DXA and biomechanical testing did not reveal significant differences between subjects with high and low serum B vitamin concentrations. Osteocalcin was significantly lowered in subjects with a low serum B vitamin concentration, whereas there was no association between serum B vitamins and TRAP.

Conclusion: The results of the present study indicate that low serum folate and vitamin B-6 concentrations, but not low serum vitamin B-12 concentrations, are associated with an altered morphology of human bone.

Received for publication May 22, 2009. Accepted for publication July 18, 2009.

Study Information

Joerg H Holstein, Markus Herrmann, Christina Splett, Wolfgang Herrmann, Patric Garcia, Tina Histing, Stefan Graeber, Mei Fang Ong, Karsten Kurz, Thomas Siebel, Michael D Menger and Tim Pohlemann.
Low serum folate and vitamin B-6 are associated with an altered cancellous bone structure in humans.
Am J Clin Nutr
2009 November
University of Saarland, Homburg/Saar, Germany.

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