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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Effect of Combination Folic Acid, Vitamin B6 , and Vitamin B12 Supplementation on Fracture Risk in Women: A Randomized, Controlled Trial.

  • Author(s): Stone, Katie L
  • Lui, Li-Yung
  • Christen, William G
  • Troen, Aron M
  • Bauer, Douglas C
  • Kado, Deborah
  • Schambach, Christopher
  • Cummings, Steven R
  • Manson, JoAnn E
  • et al.

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Epidemiologic studies have demonstrated an association of elevated plasma homocysteine levels with greater bone resorption and fracture risk. Vitamins B12 , B6 , and folic acid are cofactors in homocysteine metabolism, and supplementation with B vitamins is effective in lowering homocysteine levels in humans. However, randomized trials of supplemental B vitamins for reduction of fracture risk have been limited. Therefore, we performed an ancillary study to the Women's Antioxidant and Folic Acid Cardiovascular Study (WAFACS), a large randomized trial of women with preexisting cardiovascular disease or three or more coronary risk factors, to test whether a daily B vitamin intervention including folic acid (2.5 mg/day), vitamin B6 (50 mg/day), and vitamin B12 (1 mg/day) reduces nonspine fracture risk over 7.3 years of treatment and follow-up. Among 4810 women, we confirmed 349 nonspine fracture cases by centralized review of medical records. In a substudy of 300 women (150 in treatment group and 150 controls) with paired plasma samples at randomization and follow-up (7.3 years later), we measured two bone turnover markers, including C-terminal cross-linking telopeptide of type I collagen (CTX) and intact type I procollagen N-propeptide (P1NP). In Cox proportional hazards models based on intention-to-treat, we found no significant effects of B vitamin supplementation on nonspine fracture risk (relative hazard = 1.08; 95% confidence interval, 0.88 to 1.34). In a nested case-cohort analysis, there were no significant effects of B vitamins on fracture risk among women with elevated plasma homocysteine levels, or low levels of vitamins B12 or B6 , or folate at baseline. Furthermore, treatment with B vitamins had no effect on change in markers of bone turnover. We found no evidence that daily supplementation with B vitamins reduces fracture risk or rates of bone metabolism in middle-aged and older women at high risk of cardiovascular disease. © 2017 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

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