A Surprising Link Discovered Between Vitamin D Deficiency and Bone Aging
Vitamin D has been linked with bone density for years, with multiple studies pointing out that low vitamin D levels may lead to osteoporosis. New technology, however, has allowed researchers to discover that vitamin D deficiency may also increase the speed at which bones age and increase brittleness and the risk of bone fracture.
The researchers in this study examined bone samples from 15 individuals who were vitamin D deficient and 15 who were not. They then utilized state-of-the-art technology to determine levels of bone mineralization both on the surface of the bone and inside the bone.
Proper mineralization of bone is essential to ensure adequate bone hardness and strength.
In this study, the researchers uncovered a surprising paradox: the surface of the bones of vitamin D deficient people had less mineralization but the interior bone had more mineralization.
This resulted in accelerated aging of the bones, and researchers determined that those in the vitamin D deficient group had up to a 31% increase in bone cracks.
A joint team of researchers from the University Medical Center Hamburg in Germany and the University of California, Berkeley conducted this study. It was published in the July 2013 issue of Science Translational Medicine.
Previous studies have shown that vitamin D may improve kidney health, reduce the risk of skin cancer, combat diabetes, and improve age related eye degeneration.
Vitamin D can be found in milk, fortified cereals, fish, and eggs. Our body also process vitamin D from the sun (which is where the nickname “sunshine vitamin” comes from) but our bodies have a harder time processing it as we age. A high quality vitamin D supplement is always a good option if you feel that you’re not getting enough through diet and sun.