London: Vitamin E, dubbed the "anti-ageing" vitamin may actually weaken your bones before their time. Animals fed on a diet supplemented with the vitamin developed bones 20 percent weaker than those that ate normally, within just eight weeks, says a study

The study looked at the effect of alpha-tocopherol, the most common form of the vitamin, on bone strength. Bone is constantly changing, with old bone broken down and new bone being built. Osteoporosis occurs when old bone is broken down by the body far more quickly than it is replaced.

In the Japanese study, mice genetically modified to have low levels of the vitamin in their blood, grew bones that were extra-thick. In another experiment, giving normal mice alpha-tocopherol vitamin E supplements at doses equivalent to those taken by people, led to their bones thinning by a fifth in just two months. The same result was seen in rats. The vitamin, found in cereals, nuts, olive oil and egg yolks, is credited with helping hold back the hands of time by "fighting ageing from within". Vitamin E benefits include lower heart disease, cancers and cataract risks as well as helping keep the mind sharp into old age and the skin supple.