The relationship between vitamin A and risk of fracture: meta-analysis of prospective studies.
J Bone Miner Res. 2014 Sep ;29(9):2032-9. PMID: 24700407
Osteoporotic fracture is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality and is a challenging global health problem. Previous reports of the relation between vitamin A intake or blood retinol and risk of fracture were inconsistent. We searched Medline and Embase to assess the effects of vitamin A (or retinol or beta-carotene but not vitamin A metabolites) on risk of hip and total fracture. Only prospective studies were included. We pooled data with a random effects meta-analysis with adjusted relative risk (adj.RR) and 95% confidence interval (CI). We used Q statistic and I(2) statistic to assess heterogeneity and Egger's test to assess publication bias. Eight vitamin A (or retinol or beta-carotene) intake studies (283,930 participants) and four blood retinol level prospective studies (8725 participants) were included. High intake of vitamin A and retinol were shown to increase risk of hip fracture (adj.RR [95% CI] = 1.29 [1.07, 1.57] and 1.40 [1.03, 1.91], respectively), whereas beta-carotene intake was not found to increase the risk of hip fracture (adj.RR [95% CI] = 0.82 [0.59, 1.14]). Both high or low level of blood retinol was shown to increase the risk of hip fracture (adj.RR [95% CI] = 1.87[1.31, 2.65] and 1.56 [1.09, 2.22], respectively). The risk of total fracture does not differ significantly by level of vitamin A (or retinol) intake or by blood retinol level. Dose-response meta-analysis shows a U-shaped relationship between serum retinol level and hip fracture risk. Our meta-analysis suggests that blood retinol level is a double-edged sword for risk of hip fracture. To avoid the risk of hip fracture caused by too low or too high a level of retinol concentration, we suggest that intake of beta-carotene (a provitamin A), which should be converted to retinol in blood, may be better than intake of retinol from meat, which is directly absorbed into blood after intake.