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Vitamin E Sources Like Nuts & Greens May Build Bone Health

What nutrients are key to bone health? While “calcium” may come first to mind, new research sheds light on the importance of antioxidant vitamin E. Ten million Americans over the age of 50 have osteoporosis and more than 3.3 million have low bone mass, a problem responsible for 1.5 million fractures of the spine, hip and wrist every year in the United States. Fortunately, exercise and diet can play a role in protecting bones.

A recent study from the Journal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism looked at the impact of vitamin E intake on bone strength and density in a basic study. Compared to those given straight olive oil, rats fed oil enriched with vitamin E increased the density of their femur bones by 80%. The dosage was much higher than human equivalent of 15 mg RDA — and supplementation of vitamin E is still being studied for efficacy and indeed safety. But dietary sources — sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, leafy greens — can help you meet vitamin E needs.

Indeed, one University of Texas study found that those who consumed the most vitamin E from food alone (7.3 mg — about the amount in an ounce of almonds) reduced the risk of bladder cancer by 42%. Moreover, researchers in Chicago showed that seniors in the top fifth of vitamin E intake from food had a 70% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Still yet another Canadian study found that increased vitamin E intake reduced the frequency of seizures in epileptic children.

Bonus: If you’re relying on nuts for your vitamin E needs, you’ll get additional benefits in maintaining a healthy weight. Researchers from Purdue University found that overweight women who added 2 ounces of almonds to their daily diet increased satiety, helping them cut back on calories elsewhere.

Published November 5, 2012

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