The common deficiency that could double your fracture risk

It’s safe to say that most conversations about reducing fracture risk focus on women and calcium. So the details of this recent study on preventing broken bones are sure to elicit a double-take.

And that’s a good thing. Because the conclusion is something that older men in particular should take note of.

The study is part of a larger NIH-funded project, featuring roughly 11,000 men altogether. This particular investigation focused on 1,000 men, averaging 75 years old.

Researchers assessed the men’s levels of B vitamins, specifically folate and B12. And it’s worth noting that this study measured holotranscobalamin–a method that actually measures how much B12 your cells take up. So this is a more sensitive (and therefore more accurate) test of B vitamin status.

After a six-year follow-up, the researchers discovered that men with low B12 levels faced a significantly higher risk of fracture.

In fact, men in the lowest quartile of B12 status were 70 percent more likely to wind up with a broken bone. And in the case of vertebral fractures in particular, that risk rose a whopping 120 percent.

As usual, the researchers behind this study don’t think their results are reason enough to urge men to get more vitamin B12. But once again, I disagree.

B12 is almost exclusively found in animal products–liver, beef, fish, and eggs are all great sources. So men, put these foods on regular rotation in your diet, and take a daily B-100 complex. That should keep your bones where they need to be.

“Low holotranscobalamin and cobalamins predict incident fractures in elderly men: the MrOS Sweden.” Osteoporos Int. 2013 Oct 16.