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Rebuilding Bones with Tocotrienols

Osteoporosis is not merely a loss of bone structure and strength but also a loss of minerals for body as well as red and white blood cells as our bones are a storehouse for them. The level of C-reactive protein, a sensitive marker of systemic inflammation, was also found to be associated with bone mineral density.

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The early stages of osteoporosis can start by age 35. Around two hundred million people worldwide suffer from osteoporosis, and the United States alone has 44 million. An additional 33.6 million individuals have osteopenia, or low bone mass, which can lead to osteoporosis. We know that post-menopausal osteoporosis is the most common cause of fractures. Bone loss also occurs due to hormone deficiency, inflammation, cytokines – diverse family of non-antibody soluble proteins and peptides. Further, skeletal tissue — the bony, ligamentous, fibrous, and cartilaginous tissue forming the skeleton and its attachments – undergoes continuous remodeling though out our life as we age which makes it unique among all of our body tissues.

The current strategies to preserve bone density include calcium, vitamin D, bisphosphonate drugs, estrogen replacement therapy. In addition, it has been shown that the statin drugs, at high doses, increase bone density-but those doses are not well tolerated.

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the diet. It is essential for the development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth. In adults with a baseline calcium intake of 500-900 mg/ day, increasing or supplementing this intake by a further 500-1000 mg/ day has a beneficial effect on bone mineral density. However, the relative risk reduction for osteoporotic fracture is likely to be no more than 10%-20%.

In researches conducted by Professor Dr. Dr. Ima-Nirwana Soelaiman, Deputy Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kebansaan, Malaysia, Kula Lumpur, Malaysia tocotrienols were found to interrupt the degeneration of bones in several different ways, and showed remarkable promise in helping prevent and reverse the harmful changes induced by menopause and contribute to bone formation, its microstructural integrity, mechanical strength, increase in bone calcium content and healthy aging. They may provide a new and safe therapy to prevent bone loss. In an animal model, tocotrienols have proved more potent than estrogen. Thus tocotrienols offer remarkable promise in helping prevent and reverse osteoporosis and contribute to bone strength and healthy aging.

The researchers showed that tocotrienols improved late-phase fracture healing by improving callus formation. In fact, supplementation with tocotrienols actually allowed the bones to handle more’ stress in female rats.

It has long been known that cigarette smoking leads to osteoporosis. One in eight hip fractures is due to smoking. Among 60 year olds with hip fractures, 17% are smokers. But among 80 year olds with hip fractures, 71% are smokers. One cause may be nicotine, which creates oxidative stress. Nicotine reduces bone mineral density, inhibits osteoblasts and delays bone healing. In our studies, tocotrienols reversed all the changes induced by nicotine, and protected and restored bone.

What is interesting is that statins seem to help bone health by inhibiting a crucial pathway, the mevalonate pathway, in the same way as tocotrienols.

So, by adding tocotrienols to statins, the adverse effects associated with high doses might be avoided, while the bone protective effects might be preserved. This combination strategy might be useful for patients at risk of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol. This study is the only one that looks at both statins and tocotrienols together. Many people are already on statins worldwide, and adding tocotrienols might enhance their benefit.

In conclusion, tocotrienols preserve bone health. They do this in several ways. They reduce inflammation. They protect individuals from high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and bone loss. Tocotrienols are useful for bone loss triggered by menopause, andropause, and smoking. They help repair fractures in osteoporotic bone at a faster rate. They also enhance the structure and strength of normal, non-osteoporotic bone, increasing bone mass so that there is less risk of osteoporosis later in life. Researchers are in the process of translating their animal studies into human clinical trials.

Disclaimer: The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated statements contained herein. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication.


osteoporosis, reversing bone loss, C-reactive protein, osteopenia, post-menopausal osteoporosis, menopause, bone fracture, fracture, cytokines, calcium, vitamin D, estrogen replacement therapy, estrogen, smoking, tocotrienols and smoking, statins, andropause.