High doses of certain vitamins may put you at risk for hip fractures

A hip fracture is more than just a hip fracture… especially as you get older.

A hip fracture symbolizes not-so-fun things like the loss of mobility and even the loss of your life. People over 50 who fracture a hip have a 20 to 33 percent higher risk of dying in the ten years following their injury.

That’s why you want to protect yourself from fractures like your life depends on it (because it just might). Unfortunately, one supplement isn’t helping your cause— that vitamin B complex.

Big doses of B12 and B6 = A bigger hip fracture risk

A new study from researchers at the University of Oslo in Norway found that women who take high doses of B6 and B12 have bigger risk of fracturing a hip.

The study included data from 75,000 women enrolled in the American Nurses Health Study. This data was collected over a period of 30 years. When researchers analyzed it, they determined something alarming…

Women who took high doses of vitamin B12 and B6 had nearly a 50 percent higher risk of hip fracture than women who took low doses of these vitamins.

Why would B vitamins make hip fractures more likely?

That’s a mystery… especially when it comes to B12. But scientists have a couple of guesses about B6…

High doses of B6 cause neurological symptoms that could worsen coordination and make falls more likely. B6 may also trigger a hormonal response that makes age-related bone loss happen more quickly.

The B-vitamin balancing act

The biggest takeaway?

Don’t overdo B vitamins.

But don’t be scared to take a B vitamin supplement either. A lot of older adults are B12 deficient and need to take supplements. (Based on this study, the heightened hip fracture risk is only a threat is you’re taking high doses of B6 and B12 anyway.)

If you’re B12 deficient, you will have to take high-dose B12 pills or get B12 injections. Just make sure to do it in partnership with your doctor, so you get the right amount.

Related: The 10 best supplements for seniors (slideshow)

If you’re not B12 deficient, get the recommended daily amount of B12 (2.4 mcg for adults) and B6 (1.3 mg for adults up to age 50; 1.7 mg for men over 50; 1.5 mg for women over 50). You can easily get this amount through a healthy diet. Here are a few B vitamin-filled foods to eat regularly:

  • Grass-fed milk
  • Eggs
  • Brown rice
  • Fish
  • Legumes
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Mushrooms
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Beets
  • Dark, leafy greens
  • Papaya
  • Oranges
  • Cantaloupe
  • Bananas

Sources:

  1. Too much vitamin B can cause hip fracture — MedicalXpress
  2. Association of High Intakes of Vitamins B6 and B12 From Food and Supplements With Risk of Hip Fracture Among Postmenopausal Women in the Nurses’ Health StudyJAMA Network Open
  3. Vitamins B-6 and B-12 linked with increased risk of hip fracture — Medical News Today
  4. Hip fracture increases mortality risk for up to 10 years— Healio
  5. Vitamin B12 deficiency can be sneaky, harmful — Harvard Health Publishing
  6. Vitamin B12 — National Institutes of Health
  7. Vitamin B6 — National Institutes of Health

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Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.