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The Physicians Committee



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BREAKING MEDICAL NEWS March 3, 2005

Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 Cut Hip Fracture Risk

March 3, 2005

Folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements cut the risk of hip fracture by approximately 80 percent, according to a new JAMA study. The two-year randomized trial included 559 Japanese patients aged 65 and over who had had strokes with residual hemiplegia, putting them at high risk for osteoporosis, falls, and hip fracture. Treatment consisted of 5 mg of folic acid and 1500 mcg of vitamin B12 daily over a two-year period. The dramatic effect of folic acid and vitamin B12 in reducing fracture risk appears to be related to its ability to cut plasma levels of homocysteine. At higher levels, homocysteine appears to interfere with the formation of collagen cross-links within bone, weakening the bone matrix and increasing risk of osteoporotic fractures.

Sato Y, Honda Y, Iwamoto J, Kanoko T, Satoh K. Effect of folate and mecobalamin on hip fractures in patients with stroke: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2005;293:1082-1088.

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