Low levels of vitamin D are associated with the loss of cartilage in the knee joint of older individuals, report researchers from Australia.
Cartilage is a dense connective tissue which acts as a cushion between the bones of joints. The loss of cartilage is a telltale sign of osteoarthritis in older adults.
In this study, researchers tracked cartilage loss in knee and blood levels vitamin D in adults with osteoarthritis.
People with osteoarthritis and adequate blood levels of vitamin D experienced 1.5 percent less loss of knee cartilage each year when compared to those with low blood levels of this "sunshine vitamin".
In addition to helping with the absorption and utilization of calcium in bones, vitamin D appears plays an important role in cartilage changes that occur in osteoarthritis.
Vitamin D deficiency may predict knee cartilage loss over time, says the author of this study.
Among the over 100 different types of arthritis, osteoarthritis (or degenerative arthritis) is the most common, affecting 10% of Canada's population.
The Canadian Cancer Society recommends 1,000 international units of vitamin D a day in fall and winter, and year round for those over 50 or with darker skin.
Supplements like Medcan's Elements Daily Packs are an important source of vitamin D as it's impossible to get the recommended amount from food alone.
Vitamin D supplements are especially important for older adults who may not enjoy a balanced variety of foods and may lack sun exposure.
Click here to read Leslie Beck's Nutrition Strategies for Managing Osteoarthritis.
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