New Study Contradicts Discredited Research on the Benefits of Organic Nitrates for Bone Health

May 6, 2020

Organic nitrates do not have clinically relevant effects on bone mineral density or bone turnover in postmenopausal women, according to a study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Organic nitrates do not have clinically relevant effects on bone mineral density or bone turnover in postmenopausal women, according to a study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research

The double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial compared three different nitrate preparations in two different doses in postmenopausal women with bone loss. The results showed no differences in changes in bone mineral density or bone turnover markers between organic nitrate treatment and placebo.

These results contradict those of several clinical trials which reported beneficial effects of organic nitrates on bone health. Some of those studies have been retracted due to scientific misconduct, and so these new findings call into question the validity of the positive effects previously reported.

“Based on previous clinical trials, we had high hopes that treatment with nitrates might be a safe and highly effective treatment for preventing age-related bone loss and fractures. We assessed several different doses and forms of nitrates and our results show clearly that no preparation or dose had any effect on bone density or bone turnover, but they did cause significant side-effects for women,” said lead author Mark Bolland, MBChB, PhD, of the University of Auckland, in New Zealand in a statement.

“Sadly, this research area has recently had several studies with strongly positive results retracted because of scientific misconduct," Bolland added. " We think our paper provides closure, with fairly definitive evidence that nitrates do not affect surrogate measures of bone health and thus there is no reason to think they would prevent fractures.”

Bolland MJ, House ME, Horne AM, et al. Nitrates Do Not Affect Bone Density or Bone Turnover in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 5]. J Bone Miner Res. 2020;10.1002/jbmr.3982. doi:10.1002/jbmr.3982