According to researchers in Scotland, vitamin D deficiency is nearly universal in all cases of hip fractures among the elderly.
In their study of over 500 people adults aged 60 and older, of those who were submitted to hospital in the previous 4 years for hip fracture, over 97 percent had vitamin D levels below normal. In 25 percent of these cases, vitamin D levels were so low they were described as "effectively unrecordable" by researchers.
The study suggests that vitamin D deficiency is a significant correctable risk factor for bone fracture and perhaps specifically for the hip in the elderly. As a result, researchers should encourage patients with osteoporosis to take vitamin D supplements.
The main role of vitamin D is to help the body absorb calcium from foods. Good sources of vitamin D include oily fish, liver, egg yolk and fortified foods and beverages like milk and soy drinks. The daily requirement for vitamin D is 200 IU/day for people under the age of 50, 400 IU/day for people aged 51 to 70 and 600 IU/day for people over the age of 70. The Osteoporosis Society of Canada recommends that adults aged 19 to 50 years get 400 IU per day; older adults should get 800 IU.
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