Study Summary: Vitamin B6/B12 & Hip Fractures
Vitamin supplements may seem healthy, but too much of a good thing can carry some risks.
A new study link high doses of Vitamin B6 and B12 supplements with hip fractures in women.
Among the 75,804 women studied, those who took high doses of supplements for these vitamins had a significantly higher risk of hip fracture.
This risk remained after adjusting for age, BMI, physical activity, smoking status, calcium intake, vitamin D intake, alcohol, cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and hormonal therapies, among other relevant factors.
Limitations of Self Reported Data
Vitamin B6 and Hip Fracture Risk
Researchers found that any daily dose of Vitamin B6 was associated with at least a small increase in risk.
This increase in risk was approximately even across all doses, with no significant differences between doses.
Vitamin B12 and Hip Fracture Risk
When it comes to vitamin B12, the risk of hip fracture appears to increase with doses of supplements.
Vitamin B12 was associated with a significant linear trend (p=0.02). The data showed a dose-dependent trend, though individual dose levels did not reach statistical significance.
Combining Vitamins B12 and B6 & Hip Fracture Risk
Taking high doses of Vitamin B6 and B12 together may be worse than taking either alone.
Among patients who took both vitamins, the data shows that those who took high doses of vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 had the highest risks of hip fractures at +47%. Similarly, taking a high dose of vitamin B12 and a medium dose of vitamin B6 lends itself to a +31% increase in hip fracture risk.
None of this data suggests that Vitamin B12 and B6 are inherently dangerous. Your body needs a steady supply of both. Many people actually don't get enough of these vitamins and suffer symptoms because of that.
When it comes to vitamins, the most important thing is making sure you get enough. Taking more vitamins than you need may not be a good thing.
At the end of the day, vitamins are just chemical compounds. Your body needs vitamins to stay healthy, however taking too much can have negative effects.
Given that this was a prospective cohort study, it's possible that vitamin supplements are not actually the cause behind the hip fracture risk increase. Correlation does not imply causation, even though the data is strong. Researchers will need to study this further with clinical trials to confirm this effect.
In any case, what we do know is that the best way to get vitamins remains eating a balanced diet. Vitamin supplements cannot substitute for healthy eating no matter how high the dose.