This Supplement Could Hurt Your Bones

vitamin A bone fractureVitamins are important to maintain overall good health. The bulk of vitamins can be found in much of the foods we eat. But for some of us, we may take vitamins in supplement form if our diet is lacking or to give our body a boost.

Generally, vitamins in supplement forms are well tolerated as long as you have the okay from your doctor, but other vitamins can pose a serious risk to your health if taken in high amounts.


One of those vitamins that pose a risk is vitamin A.

Vitamin A is a vital part of the body and is responsible for body development and supporting the immune system. Our bodies do not naturally produce vitamin A, and this is why you may be prompted to take it in supplement form. Unfortunately, if vitamin A is taken in excess, it can hurt your bones, according to researchers’ warnings.

Vitamin A is naturally found in foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, beef liver, salmon, and other dairy products.

How much vitamin A you require depends on your age along with other factors. The National Institutes of Health recommends 900 micrograms for men and 700 mcg for women. For example, half a cup of raw carrots contains 573 mcg.

Clearly, we can very easily derive our daily recommended allowance of vitamin A from diet yet many of us still take it in supplement form.

Studies have shown that too much vitamin A is associated with a higher risk of bone fractures. It does this because high amounts of vitamin A thins out the bones, making them more prone to fractures.

Previous mice models found that mice who took in 13 to 132 times the limit of vitamin A had a higher risk of bone fractures only after one to two weeks.

The recent study tried to mimic vitamin A over supplementation in conditions more closely similar to a person being exposed to supplement over a prolonged period of time.

The researchers found that after a mere eight days of over supplementation, the bone thickness in mice began to thin and after 10 weeks there was significant fragility and a higher risk to fracture.


Study co-author Dr. Ulf Lerner explained, “Previous studies in rodents have shown that vitamin A decreases bone thickness but these studies were performed with very high doses of vitamin A, over a short period of time. In our study, we have shown that much lower concentrations of vitamin A, a range more relevant for humans, still decreases rodent bone thickness and strength.”

Always be mindful when taking supplements and speak to your doctor so you can reduce your risk of complications associated with over supplementation.

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Author Bio

Mohan Garikiparithi got his degree in medicine from Osmania University (University of Health Sciences). He practiced clinical medicine for over a decade before he shifted his focus to the field of health communications. During his active practice he served as the head of the Dept. of Microbiology in a diagnostic centre in India. On a three-year communications program in Germany, Mohan developed a keen interest in German Medicine (Homoeopathy), and other alternative systems of medicine. He now advocates treating different medical conditions without the use of traditional drugs. An ardent squash player, Mohan believes in the importance of fitness and wellness.


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