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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Dietary Prevention of Obesity-related Disease Research

Title: Vitamin C reverses hypogonadal bone loss

item Zhu, Ling-ling
item Cao, Jay
item Sun, Merry
item Yuen, Tony
item Zhou, Raymond
item Li, Jianhua
item Peng, Yuan-zhen
item Moonga, Surinder
item Guo, Lida
item Mechanick, Jeffery
item Iqbal, Jameel
item Peng, Liu
item Blair, Harry
item Biam, Zhuan
item Zaidi, Mone

Submitted to: PLoS One
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/7/2012
Publication Date: 10/8/2012
Publication URL:
Citation: Zhu, L., Cao, J.J., Sun, M., Yuen, T., Zhou, R., Li, J., Peng, Y., Moonga, S.S., Guo, L., Mechanick, J.I., Iqbal, J., Peng, L., Blair, H.C., Biam, Z., Zaidi, M. 2012. Vitamin C reverses hypogonadal bone loss. PLoS One. 7(10):1-6.

Interpretive Summary: Low vitamin C intake is associated with low bone mass and a high fracture risk. In this study, we provide definitive evidence that oral intake of vitamin C can prevent bone loss following ovariectomy. Based on bone histomorphometry, biochemical bone marker, and quantitative PCR studies, we show that the primary action of oral vitamin C is stimulation of bone formation. Thus, our data provide an evidence for the use of vitamin C as a skeletal anabolic supplement in the therapy of human osteoporosis.

Technical Abstract: Epidemiologic studies correlate low vitamin C intake with bone loss. The genetic deletion of enzymes involved in de novo vitamin C synthesis in mice, likewise, causes severe osteoporosis. However, very few studies have evaluated a protective role of this dietary supplement on the skeleton. Here, we show that the ingestion of vitamin C reverses the low-turnover bone loss following ovariectomy in mice. This reversal, noted both on areal bone mineral density and µCT parameters, results primarily from the stimulation of bone formation, demonstrable in vivo by histomorphometry, bone marker measurements, and quantitative PCR. Notably, the reductions in the bone formation rate, plasma osteocalcin levels, and ex vivo osteoblast gene expression 8 weeks post-ovariectomy are all reversed to levels of sham-operated controls. We thus provide proof-of-concept for the use of vitamin C as a skeletal anabolic supplement in the therapy of human osteoporosis.

Last Modified: 06/23/2017
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