The role of vitamin E in reversing bone loss

Aging Clin Exp Res. 2008 Dec;20(6):521-7. doi: 10.1007/BF03324879.


Background and aims: A positive correlation between intake of antioxidants including vitamins E and C on bone mass has been established by a number of investigators. The present study was conducted to evaluate the extent to which higher doses of vitamin E than normal dose (75 IU per kg diet) can reverse bone loss in aged osteopenic orchidectomized male rats.

Methods: Forty 12-month old male Sprague- Dawley rats were either sham-operated (Sham) or orchidectomized (Orx), and fed control diet for 120 days to establish bone loss. Thereafter, rats were assigned to their corresponding treatment groups (n= 10 per group): Sham and one Orx groups received 75 IU vitamin E and served as controls, and the other two Orx groups received either 250 or 500 IU vitamin E per kg diet for 90 days.

Results: Higher doses of vitamin E did not improve bone mineral density (BMD) or content (BMC) of whole body, femur and lumbar vertebra or alter the orchidectomy-induced deterioration of trabecular microarchitecture of the distal femur metaphysis in comparison with Orx controls that received adequate vitamin E. Biochemical markers of bone formation and bone resorption, i.e. serum osteocalcin and urinary deoxypyridinoline crosslinks, were also unaffected by vitamin E supplementation.

Conclusions: Overall, the findings of the present study suggest that supplemental doses of vitamin E do not increase BMD values in male rat model of osteoporosis. However, human studies are needed to confirm the population findings indicating that individuals with higher vitamin E intake have higher bone mass.

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Amino Acids / urine
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Body Weight
  • Bone Density / drug effects*
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / drug therapy*
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / pathology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Eating
  • Femur / drug effects
  • Femur / pathology
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / drug effects
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / pathology
  • Male
  • Orchiectomy
  • Organ Size
  • Osteocalcin / blood
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Vitamin E / pharmacology*


  • Amino Acids
  • Antioxidants
  • Osteocalcin
  • Vitamin E
  • deoxypyridinoline