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Blood Tests Can Help Detect Osteoporosis Early In Life

Two new studies show high levels of amino acid are associated with an increased risk of fracture.High levels of homocysteine have long been // associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Very high levels are also known to be associated with homocystinuria, a rare disease characterized by early onset osteoporosis. Now, in two separate studies, high levels have also been found to be associated with an increased risk for a fracture. Researchers say this finding could have important implications for the development of interventions to prevent fractures.

One study looked at the circulating homocysteine level and the risk of incident osteoporotic fractures in 2,406 participants. The men and women in the study were 55 years or older. Researchers found in all of the different groups they studied there was an association between a high level of homocysteine and the risk of fracture.

The second study included men and women who had blood samples drawn almost 20 years ago. Researchers compared their homocysteine levels with the incidence of hip fracture. They also found the men and women with the highest homocysteine levels had the greatest risk of fracture.

Researchers say total homocysteine concentrations can effectively and easily be modified through dietary intake of folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12. However they feel if further research confirms this finding, nationwide folic acid fortification of food could help reduce fracture rates in the United States.

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