New Research on Preventing Fractures and Osteoporosis in Seniors

Left: Normal Spine Right: Osteoporosis Spine

Hip Fractures and Osteoporosis

Hip fractures are one of the most disabling and deadly fractures that seniors can get. They are usually from a fall and the major risk factor in post-menopausal women and senior men over age 60 is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis (porous bone) is a silent disease that produces no pain or symptoms and most seniors do not even know they have it until they get a fracture. Osteoporosis causes bones to thin out and become more brittle. See our blog from March 13, 2018 to read more about preventing and treating osteoporosis.

Calcium and Vitamin D

For years the standard treatment to prevent osteoporosis and fractures was to take a diet high in calcium or a calcium supplement together with Vitamin D. However, research showed that this duo of calcium and Vitamin D did not help to reduce the number of fractures in seniors. Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins needed to prevent all kinds of health problems, but it really should only be taken as a supplement if blood tests show a deficiency. Vitamin D does not have to be taken together with calcium.

Latest Studies about Osteoporosis

Vitamin C

An Iranian study published April 2018 in the British Journal of Nutrition of over 3500 people discovered that those who had a diet high in natural food sources of Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, had a lower risk for fractures. Fresh fruits, especially citrus fruits like oranges, tangerines and grapefruits are high in natural vitamin C and other protective nutrients. Also melons and kiwis have a lot of natural Vitamin C. They did not study people who were taking Vitamin C supplement pills. They found that the seniors who had more natural Vitamin C in their diets had higher bone density in their necks and backs and had a lower rate of fractures. Seniors age 70 and over had a 28% lower chance to get hip fractures and a 33% lower chance to get osteoporosis. Results show that eating fruits and vegetables high in Vitamin C may help protect bones. Fruits and vegetables have other vitamins and minerals that may also play a role in promoting good bone health.
In fact, the Mediterranean Diet which is high in fresh fruits and vegetables has also shown that it may protect bones as it is associated with a lower rate of hip fractures. See our blog from April 27, 2018.

Vitamin C is important for many functions to keep the body healthy and promoting healthy bone protein and bones is one of them. Vitamin C is also linked to a healthy immune system in fighting viral infections like colds and the flu.


A study published June 21, 2018  by the University of Gothenburg in Sweden on 90 women found that probiotics like Lactobacillus reuteri 6475 bacteria found in some kinds of yogurt can protect bones of senior women against osteoarthritis.

Vanillic Acid

Chinese researchers discovered in an animal study that Vanillic acid, which contains the female hormone estrogen can possibly protect against osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. Vanllic acid is an oxidized form of vanillin used as a flavoring in food and is also found in several Chinese herbs such as Angelica sinensis, Sambucus siebolddiana, Sambucus williamsii, Rhododendron dauricum. The study examined 40 female rats who had their ovaries removed. Rats that were fed vanillic acid  had higher bone density as shown in their femurs. However, more research is needed before absolute positive conclusions can be shown if vanillic acid can protect against loss of bone mass in post-menopausal women and how much can be safely used.

Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing

The Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse NY is a skilled nursing care facility in Syracuse NY that offers care and rehabilitation to seniors recuperating from a hip fracture or a total hip replacement surgery.


Eating healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables that contain natural Vitamin C and probiotic foods like some kinds of yogurt may be beneficial to bone health.

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