Vitamin D. As children, we were told to drink milk because it provided Vitamin D and calcium, a substance that could help to keep our bones strong. Increasingly, however, evidence is being gathered that vitamin also helps to keep bones strong.
New studies, in fact, point to vitamin D to treat osteoporosis and lessen the amount of bone fractures in the elderly. Osteoporosis is a major health issue for an estimated 44 million Americans and in the year 2000, the number of osteoporotic fractures in Europe was estimated at 3.79 million.
While primarily associated as an elderly disease, osteoporosis can show up at any time. Getting enough calcium and sunlight (vitamin D) to help absorb the calcium, has been targeted as a major factor in affecting the disease and reducing fractures.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) reports that "one in two women and one in four men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in her / his remaining lifetime. Osteoporosis is responsible for more than 1.5 million fractures annually, including over 300,000 hip fractures. "
Research has shown that vitamin D not only aids in the absorption of calcium to strengthen bones, but also positively affects muscles. This positive affect on bones and muscles leads to more body stability and experts say, could be beneficial in reducing the amount of fractures sustained from weak bones and muscles in the elderly.
Specialists are suggesting a daily dosage of 800 units (20 micrograms) for people 65 and older, while research is being done on yearly vitamin D injections.
Although many leading authorities are recommending extra vitamin D, The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) – an independent UK organization responsible for providing national guidance on promoting good health and preventing and treating ill health – is not advocating a certain dosage or saying whether supplements or injections would be the best technique for administering the vitamin.
NICE also states that although studies are showing that supplementing vitamin D may decrease the amount of fractures in the elderly, they are not positive it would lessen the amount of yearly fractures.
The Food Standards Agency in the UK, recommends 10 micrograms (or 400 units) of extra vitamin D, but only for those who are housebound, inactive and not eating a healthy diet of meat or oily fish. They stand firm that people who are active and eating a healthy diet, do not need extra vitamin D supplementation.
Dr Frazer Anderson, senior lecturer in geriatric medicine at Southampton of University, Agrees That Supplementing with vitamins , Specifically taking daily vitamin D and / or calcium supplements would : mean a fewer fractures Sustained per year, yet he does not believe That of supplementation would be road the if they 're already had osteoporosis.
Studies are ongoing.