Fracture me this: is it time to up your D quotient?

Posted by on Sep 29, 2014 in bone health | 0 comments

Depositphotos_2650818_xsToo much D is too much of a good thing, isn’t it? But now, data presented a few weeks ago at the American Society of Bone and Mineral annual meeting is turning recommendations on their head, once again. (If you wish to check the evolving data on Vitamin D, take a look at the Flashfree archives here.) The latest conclusion? If you are in menopause, you need to start maintaining high vitamin D levels >20 ng/mL (500 IU) daily to reduce your risk of fracture.

As I’ve discussed throughout the years, bone loss increases significantly as levels of estrogen and FSH fluctuate and eventually decline. ¬†Moreover, these changes can start as early as age 35 and by the time women reach the age of 50, they have a¬†40% risk of suffering a fracture due to osteoporosis during the rest of their lifetime. However, in this particular study, which evaluated the role of serum vitamin D in fractures related to falls from standing height or less in women participating in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), higher levels of vitamin D were associated with as much as a 45% lower non-traumatic fracture risk compared to levels below the 500 IU daily mark. Additionally, even after the researchers accounted for potential confounding factors, such as the women’s bone mass density and body mass index (BMI), these findings remained. Another important point about this study is that previously, most of the evaluations have been conducted in post menopausal women; this particular group of women were undergoing the menopausal transition. The findings also did not demonstrate any association between vitamin D intake and fractures resulting from traumatic events, such as playing sports or a car accident).

The researchers point out that the underlying role of vitamin D may be its affect on bone quality, adding that they did not set out to measure that so no firm conclusions can be drawn. They also note that they did not see any benefit to upping vitamin D intake between five and one years prior to final menstrual period, meaning that this strategy should be incorporated early on during the pre-menopausal or peri-menopausal years (women between the ages of about 35 to 51, I am talking to you!!!!). Finally, no mention was made of the other risks of high vitamin D intake, such as cardiovascular issues so before you head to your local drugstore, do speak with your health practitioner.

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