Vitamin A intake and the risk of hip fracture in postmenopausal women: the Iowa Women's Health Study

Osteoporos Int. 2004 Jul;15(7):552-9. doi: 10.1007/s00198-003-1577-y.


Excessive intake of vitamin A is postulated to have a detrimental effect on bone by inducing osteoporosis. This may lead to an increased risk of fracture, particularly in persons who are already at risk of osteoporosis. However, few studies have specifically examined the association of vitamin A intake through diet and supplement use, with fractures in a cohort of older, community-dwelling women. We prospectively followed a cohort of 34,703 postmenopausal women from the Iowa Women's Health Study to determine if high levels of vitamin A and retinol intake through food and supplement use were associated with an increased risk of hip or all fractures. A semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire was used to obtain the participants' baseline vitamin A and retinol intake. Participants were followed for a mean duration of 9.5 years for incident self-reported hip and nonhip fractures. After multivariate adjustment, it was revealed that users of supplements containing vitamin A had a 1.18-fold increased risk of incident hip fracture (n = 525) compared with nonusers (95% CI, 0.99 to 1.41), but there was no evidence of an increased risk of all fractures (n = 6,502) among supplement users. There was also no evidence of a dose-response relationship in hip fracture risk with increasing amounts of vitamin A or retinol from supplements. Furthermore, our results showed no association between vitamin A or retinol intake from food and supplements, or food only, and the risk of hip or all fractures. In conclusion, we found little evidence of an increased risk of hip or all fractures with higher intakes of vitamin A or retinol among a cohort of older, postmenopausal women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Diet
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Hip Fractures / epidemiology
  • Hip Fractures / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Iowa / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis / etiology
  • Postmenopause / physiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin A / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D