Low Vitamin D Ups Fracture Risk in Young and Old

ABCNews.com—February 8, 2012

Vitamin D is the key to having healthy bones, yet many Americans don't get as much as they need.

The consequence? Broken bones, even among the young and healthy, according to two new studies presented yesterday at a meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

In one study, researchers studied 104 postmenopausal women with wrist fractures and found that 44 percent of the women had insufficient or deficient vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D deficiency can be devastating among younger women and men also, according to another study presented at the AAOS meeting.

"We are dealing with a significant problem in our population, especially related to those individuals that sustain fractures," said Dr. Joseph Lane, chief of metabolic bone disease service at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium from food, strengthening the bones. The nutrient is found naturally in fatty fish like salmon and tuna, and in small amounts in mushrooms, cheese and egg yolks. The other natural source for vitamin D is sunshine, which causes the body to make vitamin D.

Vitamin D is also added to nearly all milk sold in the U.S.

Getting enough of the nutrient naturally is next to impossible, according to some experts. A cup of milk only has 100 IU of vitamin D. Drink 4 a day and you still won't meet the IOMs daily requirements.

Experts say taking a vitamin D supplement is a good idea, especially for older women who are at greater risk for bone fractures.

Additionally, older people, those with previous bone fractures, and others who are at an increased risk of fractures, may want to consider having a doctor check their vitamin D levels.

Read the full story at abcnews.com.

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