Vitamins and bone health: beyond calcium and vitamin D

Nutr Rev. 2011 Oct;69(10):584-98. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00372.x.


Osteoporosis is a major health disorder associated with an increased risk of fracture. Nutrition is among the modifiable factors that influence the risk of osteoporosis and fracture. Calcium and vitamin D play important roles in improving bone mineral density and reducing the risk of fracture. Other vitamins appear to play a role in bone health as well. In this review, the findings of studies that related the intake and/or the status of vitamins other than vitamin D to bone health in animals and humans are summarized. Studies of vitamin A showed inconsistent results. Excessive, as well as insufficient, levels of retinol intake may be associated with compromised bone health. Deficiencies in vitamin B, along with the consequent elevated homocysteine level, are associated with bone loss, decreased bone strength, and increased risk of fracture. Deficiencies in vitamins C, E, and K are also associated with compromised bone health; this effect may be modified by smoking, estrogen use or hormonal therapy after menopause, calcium intake, and vitamin D. These findings highlight the importance of adequate nutrition in preserving bone mass and reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / metabolism
  • Avitaminosis / physiopathology
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / etiology
  • Fractures, Bone / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Osteoporosis / etiology
  • Osteoporosis / physiopathology
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control*
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / etiology
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / physiopathology
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / prevention & control
  • Vitamin A / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin A / metabolism
  • Vitamin B Complex / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin B Complex / metabolism
  • Vitamin E / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin E / metabolism
  • Vitamin K / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin K / metabolism
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamins / metabolism


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin E
  • Ascorbic Acid