Eat your veggies! Carotenoids reduce fracture risk

Wednesday, December 26, 2012 by: Sherry Baker, Health Sciences Editor
Tags: carotenoids, bone fractures, vegetables

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(NaturalNews) With all the talk about the bone thinning condition osteoporosis almost always aimed at women, you may not be aware that thin men have a strong risk for hip fractures as they age. But a new study shows there may be a way to modify that risk. No, the answer isn't taking Big Pharma's side effect loaded drugs. Instead, the key is to eat more veggies loaded with carotenoids. These natural phytochemicals found in numerous fruits and vegetables (including carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, collard greens, papaya, bell peppers, and tomatoes).

The new research was just announced at the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) Regionals Asia-Pacific Osteoporosis Meeting underway in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Scientists from the National University of Singapore and the Singapore Ministry of Health examined the association between dietary carotenoids, which are powerful antioxidants, and hip fracture risk in older Chinese men and women who had a broad range of Body Mass Index (BMI) measurements. A BMI is a number calculated from a person's weight and height and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is a fairly reliable indicator of body fatness for most people.

Using data from the Singapore Chinese Health Study, a population-based, cohort prospective study involving 63,257 men and women aged 45 years and older, the research team identified 1,630 who had experienced hip fractures. The study found that a lower BMI was a far stronger risk factor for hip fractures in men than it was in women. What's more, they discovered that the risk plummeted in the men who ate the most vegetables and consumed the highest levels of carotenoids, especially beta-carotene. The protective effect was highest of all in men who were lean, with low BMIs.

Carotenoids, which are found in rich concentrations in yellow and orange pigmented vegetables, are converted to vitamin A by the body. The researchers concluded that clinical trials should be conducted to test whether taking supplements of carotenoids can prevent hip fractures in elderly men.

This new study closely follows additional positive findings about the benefits of carotenoids -- research just published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute revealed a relationship between higher levels of these phytonutrients in the body and a lowered risk of breast cancer. Previous studies by University of Florida scientist Colleen Le Prell, Ph.D., also found that beta-carotene may help protect against noise-induced and perhaps even age-related hearing loss.


About the author:
Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA''''s "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine''''s "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic''''s "Men''''s Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.

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