Vitamin B12, bone mineral density and fracture risk in adults: A systematic review

Rev Assoc Med Bras (1992). 2017 Sep;63(9):801-809. doi: 10.1590/1806-9282.63.09.801.


Objective: To consolidate information available on the effect of vitamin B12 on bone mineral density and fracture risk, with emphasis on clinical trials, observational and longitudinal data conducted in humans.

Method: A systematic review of the literature of the past decade on the role of vitamin B12 in bone mineral density and fracture risk in subjects of all ages and both sexes was performed by means of a PubMed, Science Direct, Medline and SciELO database search. Articles included in this review were identified using the search terms: B12 Vitamin and Bone Mineral Density and Vitamin B12 and Risk of Fractures. Evidence quality of the included articles was evaluated by GRADE system.

Results: A total of 25 original studies were identified. After reviewing the titles and abstracts of articles, only 17 articles met the inclusion criteria. The present review provides evidence that the role of vitamin B12 on bone mineral density or fracture risk should be further elucidated. Controversies are explained by heterogeneity of methodologies used for the diagnosis of vitamin B12 and also by differences among populations investigated on the studies.

Conclusion: A real effect of vitamin B12 deficiency in bone health and the mechanisms associated with bone metabolism is not well established yet. It is extremely important to carry out more clarifying studies about this theme, especially with vulnerable groups such as postmenopausal and elderly women, as is well-known that they are greatly affected by deficiency of this vitamin.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Density / drug effects*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin B 12 / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control*


  • Vitamin B 12