Vitamin D and Your Risk To Fracture….

August 20, 2008

Go to fullsize imageVitamin D is a neglected vitamin.  I always consider it as one of those vitamins that have powerful effects on the body but has never got the attention fo the media. 

Through this website, I have been harping on the benefits of Vitamin D and the problems associated with subtle vitamin D Deficiency.

I recently had one patient who suffered from severe muskuloskeletal weakness that the neurologist was already doing a battery of tests but no diagnosis was given. When her vitamin D was checked..it was extremely low and with supplementation of Vitamin D, she eventually recovered in 1-2 months. The neurologist discounted the effect saying she is living in a hot tropical country with plenty of sun and therefore he doubts that she is vitamin D deficient.  Unknowingly to everyone… people in our country hide from the sun… they bring umbrellas during sunny days… they avoid the sun because it can cause wrinkles and freckles.  My patient was no exception!!!

Now comes a new study linking Vitamin D Deficiency to fractures….publsihed in the Annals of Internal Medicine August issue…

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Participants: 400 case-patients with incident hip fracture and 400 control participants matched on the basis of age, race or ethnicity, and date of blood draw. Both groups were selected from 39 795 postmenopausal women who were not using estrogens or other bone-active therapies and who had not had a previous hip fracture.

Measurements: Serum 25(OH) vitamin D was measured and patients were followed for a median of 7.1 years (range, 0.7 to 9.3 years) to assess fractures.

Results: Mean serum 25(OH) vitamin D concentrations were lower in case-patients than in control participants (55.95 nmol/L [SD, 20.28] vs. 59.60 nmol/L [SD, 18.05]; P = 0.007), and

  • lower serum 25(OH) vitamin D concentrations increased hip fracture risk (adjusted odds ratio for each 25-nmol/L decrease, 1.33 [95% CI, 1.06 to 1.68]).
  • Women with the lowest 25(OH) vitamin D concentrations (47.5 nmol/L) had a higher fracture risk than did those with the highest concentrations (70.7 nmol/L) (adjusted odds ratio, 1.71 [CI, 1.05 to 2.79]), and
  • the risk increased statistically significantly across quartiles of serum 25(OH) vitamin D concentration (P for trend = 0.016).
  • This association was independent of number of falls, physical function, frailty, renal function, and sex-steroid hormone levels and seemed to be partially mediated by bone resorption.

Limitations: Few case-patients were nonwhite women. Bone mineral density and parathyroid hormone levels were not accounted for in the analysis.

Conclusion: Low serum 25(OH) vitamin D concentrations are associated with a higher risk for hip fracture.

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This study for me is very important.  For one, we know that Vitamin D supplementation has always been part of the cocktail of meds a patient with osteoporosis have to take.  But this is one study that looked at Vitamin D deficiency and the risk to fracture.  The results clearly show a relationship!

My take home message for this is that…dont assume a patient to be Vitamin D replete just because she is living in the tropics. Again one reason why this vitamin is a neglected vitamin not only in terms of preventing a disease but also in its relationship to causing a disease. 

Getting Vitamin D level is an easy blood test and if found deficient, Vitamin D replacement can have a tremendous impact in terms of how the patient feels in terms of improving his/her quality of life and how it can prevent diseases like a fracture!

The best way to prevent Vitamin D Deficiency is to enjoy the SUN …the morning sun at least 10-15 min daily while goign to work or doing your daily exercise.  Or just leisurely sun bathing with a book to read!

It’s About Time We Take Respect and Enjoy The SUN!

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One Response to “Vitamin D and Your Risk To Fracture….”

  1. maxim Says:

    Doc,

    Yes, enjoy the sun! It’s one of the few things that’s free for Filipinos to savor.


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