Summary of findings.
- Adequate Vitamin D levels are essential for maintaining strong bones.
- Older women with low Vitamin D levels suffer a 70% increased risk of hip fractures. (136)
The role of Vitamin D in developing and maintaining healthy strong bones has long been established.
Adequate Vitamin D levels are essential if sufficient calcium is to be absorbed via the intestines.
The US health agencies have concluded that adequate calcium and Vitamin D throughout life may reduce the risk of osteoporosis. (134,135)
While everyone is susceptible to osteoporosis, post menopausal women are particularly at risk and should therefore ensure their Vitamin D levels are adequate before embarking on other drug treatments for the condition.
Too little Vitamin D has been clearly linked to an increased risk of fractures. A study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh demonstrated that women between the ages of 50 to 79 and with the lowest levels of Vitamin D had a 71 percent increased risk for hip fractures as compared with women with the highest levels of Vitamin D. This was a case-controlled study where 400 women with hip fractures had their Vitamin D levels measured and compared to the Vitamin D levels of 400 healthy women without fractures. (136)
Harvard Researchers also conducted a meta analysis of 12 clinical trials evaluating Vitamin D supplements and fracture prevention. In this analysis it was found that those receiving 700-800IU of Vitamin D daily had a 23-26% reduction in the risk of fractures.(137)
Although the study appeared to show that the higher levels of Vitamin D reduced the risk of hip and nonvertebral fractures the results were not statistically significant. There was no improvement when the patients were given a dose of only 400IU per day.
However all experts in the Vitamin D area now agree that 400IU is totally inadequate dose in adults and that doses between 1000-5000IU per day are more required.
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Vitamin D and Bone Health
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