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Long-Term Vitamin D Insufficiency tied to Fracture Risk

Update Date: Apr 04, 2014 11:46 AM EDT

Vitamin D is essential for bone health because it helps the body absorb calcium. Since vitamin D is often produced via sun exposure, people residing in non-sunny areas could be at risk of vitamin D deficiency. According to a new study conducted by Swedish researchers, long-term vitamin D insufficiency could increase fracture risk in older women.

For this study, the researchers recruited 1,044 Swedish women who were all aged 75 at the baseline of the study. During the five-year follow up, the researchers reached 715 women. The researchers grouped the women into three levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD). The levels were low at less than 50, intermediate from 50 to 74 and high at above 75. The researchers examined 10-year fracture risk via x-rays.

The researchers found that women who were consistently vitamin D sufficient had a lower incidence of hip fractures. 30 percent of the women in the intermediate group and 26.2 percent of the women in the high group sustained FRAx fractures. These women had sufficient vitamin D levels at the beginning of the study and maintained those levels at five years. The researchers found that the proportion of women in the low 25OHD group that had FRAX fractures was 45.6 percent. The researchers did not find out whether or not 25OHD levels were tied to shoulder, radius and vertebral fractures. The researchers reported that most of the fractures occurred within five to 10 years after the start of the study.

"This is part of a body of research which increasingly suggests that falls and fracture risk in the elderly could be lower by having higher vitamin D levels. The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) global recommendations for vitamin D advise daily intakes of 800 to 1000 IU/day in seniors for fracture and falls prevention, and if the on-going research shows that vitamin D levels are increased it may be a relatively simple and low-cost public health measure that could have significant positive effects on the incidence of osteoporotic fractures with aging," Professor Kristina Akesson, Clinical and Molecular Osteoporosis Research Unit at Lund University, Chair of the IOF Capture the Fracture Campaign, stated reported by Medical Xpress.

The study "OC19 Vitamin D insufficiency sustained over 5 years contributes to increased 10-year fracture risk in elderly women," was presented at the World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases.

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