Low Vitamin D Linked to Early Bone Aging
I’ve often spoke of the importance of adequate levels of vitamin D. The so-called “sunshine” vitamin (which is actually a hormone) is crucial to health. So much so that, rather than relying on dietary sources, we were created with the ability to make it ourselves, through the action of sunlight striking bare skin. Problem is, these days too few people are spending enough time in the sun (without sunscreen) to generate adequate amounts of this multi-talented hormone. It’s as if we’ve forgotten the hard-learned lessons of the past.
In your mother’s day, vitamin D was viewed as a hormone that’s vital for strong bones. Strong bones depend on adequate supplies of dietary calcium, and phosphorus, in combination with adequate vitamin D. In rare cases, additional magnesium may also be needed to prevent rickets. Back then, scientists knew that people who had very low levels of vitamin D were at risk of developing rickets, a brittle-bone disease directly linked to vitamin D deficiency. At one time, rickets was rampant. It disfigured and stunted the growth of millions of children around the globe. Besides poor diet, lack of exposure to strong sunlight played a role in the development of the disabling condition.
Now scientists have shown that low vitamin D levels are linked to early signs of aging in human bone. This premature aging results in a significantly increased risk of fracture. Without adequate vitamin D, the body extracts calcium from healthy bone, boosting calcium levels in the bloodstream. In adults, this sort of bone-mineral cannibalization can cause osteomalacia, a form of adult rickets characterized by soft bones, muscle weakness and a greater risk of bone deformation and fracture. The researchers’ bottom line? “...Well-balanced vitamin D levels are essential to maintain bone’s structural integrity.” They recommend having your blood levels measured, and taking supplemental vitamin D3, if needed, to achieve optimal vitamin D levels.
Busse B, Bale HA, Zimmermann EA, Panganiban B, Barth HD, Carriero A, et al. Vitamin d deficiency induces early signs of aging in human bone, increasing the risk of fracture. Sci Transl Med. 2013 Jul 10;5(193):193ra88. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3006286.
NOTE: This article was first posted on 07/22/2013 It has since been edited, certain phrases and or words have been removed