Combined High Intake of Vitamins B6 and B12 Associated with Increased Risk of Hip Fractures


You can get too much of a good thing. Alarms are sounding now, as women who took combined high levels of both Vitamins B6 and B12 were found to have an increased risk for hip fractures. Results of this research were published May 10, 2019 in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association).

Postmenopausal Women in the Nurses’ Health Study

Participants in the large cohort Nurse’s Health Study were 75,864 postmenopausal women who were followed from June, 1984 through May, 2014. During the follow up period, 2304 of the participants suffered a hip fracture and those who took a combined high intake of both Vitamins B6 and B12 had almost a 50% increased risk for a hip fracture compared to women who took a low dosage of both vitamins.

Previous Research

Two previous Norwegian double-blind randomized clinical trials (RCTs) had also shown an unexpected increased risk of hip fracture among women who took high doses of Vitamin B6 but those who took it in in combination with Vitamin B12 had the highest risk of all.

Previous assumptions were that high-dose Vitamin B6, which had side effects of neurological symptoms and decreased tone of muscles might increase the risk for falls. Also, there may be possible negative influences on the female hormone estrogen from high dosages of Vitamin B6. However, this study could offer no real proof of how these high combined dosages can lead to increased hip fractures.

People Should Follow a Good Diet and not Take any Nutritional Supplements unless Recommended by their Doctor or Registered Dietitian

It is necessary for good health to eat a diet high in nutritious foods to get all of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients your body needs. Nutritionists and doctors advise following a good diet and avoiding nutritional supplements, except when there is a correctly diagnosed deficiency. A very simple blood test can show if someone is not getting enough Vitamin B12, which is only found in animal products like fish, meat or dairy foods. Nonetheless, taking supplemental vitamins is very popular in the United States. In many cases they may not be necessary and just an added expense. Also, mega doses of some supplements actually can do harm, as has been shown in these studies.

Hip Fractures are Associated with a High Risk for Disability and Death in Seniors

Hip fractures are associated with a high risk for permanent disability and death in seniors due to complications like pneumonia, blood clots, bleeding and urinary tract infections and problems that can occur during the first year after a hip fracture. A hip fracture can also put an enormous amount of psychological and emotional pressure on someone who was independent and managing to get around who suddenly becomes crippled, helpless and dependent.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 300,000 seniors age 65 and older are hospitalized every year in the United States for hip fractures. More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls, usually by falling sideways. Three-quarters of all hip fractures occur to women, as women are more prone to suffer from osteoporosis (porous bones), which is a disease condition that weakens bones and makes them frail and brittle. Osteoporosis is more common in post-menopausal women than men until the men reach age 70 when osteoporosis is equally common in both. Chances for hip fractures increase with age.

Preventing Hip Fractures

What You Can Do to Prevent Hip Fractures

Get screened to see if you have osteoporosis and begin treatment your doctor recommends to strengthen your bones.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist to check your medicines to see if any might make you dizzy or sleepy that could lead to falls. This should include both prescription medicines, over-the counter medicines and any herbs or dietary supplements.

Ask your doctor or healthcare provider to check your Vitamin D levels to see if you need to take Vitamin D supplements.

Do strength and balance exercises to make your legs stronger and improve your balance like Tai Chi.

Have your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) at least once a year for any serious vision problems. Also, be sure to update your eyeglasses if necessary.

Bifocal eye glasses sometimes cause problems in estimating distances. Also it is difficult to walk down stairs wearing bifocals. You may find it easier to have one pair of glasses for normal activities and a separate pair of glasses for reading and close-up work rather than bifocals.

Make Your Home Safer

Make sure there are no things to trip over like electrical cords.

Have grab bars installed inside and outside your tub or shower and next to the toilet.

Have a non-slip mat in the shower stall and bath tub.

Put railings on both sides of the stairs.

Make sure your home has lots of light by adding more or brighter LED light bulbs.

Do not wax your floors.

Wear sturdy shoes with non-slip soles.

Be careful that your pets do not trip you by scurrying under your feet.

Rehabilitation after a Hip Fracture

Most people who suffer hip fractures will undergo surgery. It is estimated that only about 50% of seniors who were independent and functioning well before the hip fracture will be able to walk again without a cane, crutches or a walker. The main focus on treatment in seniors is how to get them into the best quality of life possible. For some this will mean having to leave their homes and go into short or long-term rehabilitation facilities like the Park Crescent Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in East Orange, New Jersey. Park Crescent has a special rehabilitation and subacute unit that offers expert care. The unit contains a state-of-the-art gym.


It is better to follow a good diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fish to get your vitamins and minerals rather than to take all kinds of supplements, which may not do you any good and might in some cases do harm. Follow the advice of your doctor.



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