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Vitamin B12 and Bone Health

An estimated 40 percent of women and 13 percent of men are at high risk for an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime. When these fractures occur in older individuals, they can decrease the quality of life, sometimes dramatically.

Vitamin B12 may help you avoid a fracture, according to a recent study at Tufts University. Researchers measured bone-mineral density and vitamin B12 levels in more than 2,500 people and determined that the bones of persons who had a higher blood level of the vitamin were seven percent denser than those with low levels.

Vitamin B12 is crucial for the generation of new cells, says study author Dr Katherine Tucker. "Bone is constantly breaking down and rebuilding and, without sufficient B12, this balance may tip towards greater breakdown," she says.

Foods rich in vitamin B12 include liver, sardines (canned in oil), kidneys, eggs, mussels, beef, lamb, pork, cheese and milk.

The elderly, some vegetarians and vegans, and those with intestinal disease, should take B12 supplements. Heavy drinkers and smokers, pregnant and breast-feeding women may also require supplementation.

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