~ European Women Lack Vitamin D, May Be At Higher Risk For Bone Fractures

NewsRx.com, 06-23-06

Most women living in Europe may be deficient in vitamin D, putting them at elevated risk of bone loss and fractures, according to Dr. Olivier Bruyere of the University of Liege, Belgium.

Experts suggest the body needs at least 50 to 80 nanamoles per liter of vitamin D in blood serum for optimal bone health.

Bruyere and his colleagues analyzed vitamin D levels in 8,532 European postmenopausal women. Among the women, nearly 80% had circulating vitamin D levels below the high end of the acceptable range. Roughly one third of the women had levels lower than 50 nanamoles per liter, suggesting they have a serious risk of osteoporotic fractures.

Bruyere said the findings were consistent regardless of whether the women lived in sun-drenched countries or not. This is remarkable because vitamin D is produced in the skin by a reaction that requires sunlight. "That's one of the interesting outcomes of our study,"

Bruyere said, "We tested women from France, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Holland, Hungary, Spain, the U.K., and Germany but the findings were independent of latitude. So, based on that, we could hypothesize that vitamin D levels might be low all over the world."

The researchers observed identical levels of vitamin D deficiency in women aged lower than 70. Bruyere suggests these complimentary findings indicate that age has little bearing on the degree of deficiency. "Even young post-menopausal women should take some form of vitamin D supplementation," he said. "Supplements should not be restricted just to the elderly." This article was prepared by Hospital & Nursing Home Week editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2006, Hospital & Nursing Home Week via NewsRx.com.

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