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Originally published March 18 2009

Hip Fracture Risk Increases With Vitamin D Deficiency

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Menopausal women with low blood levels of vitamin D are significantly more likely to suffer from hip fractures, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers measured vitamin D blood levels in 800 white women from 40 clinics across the United States. All of the participants were between the ages of 50 and 79, and none of them were taking part in estrogen or other bone-active therapies. Half the participants had previously suffered from hip fractures.

The researchers found that the women with the lowest concentrations of vitamin D had a 70 percent greater chance of suffering a hip fracture in the next seven years than the women with the highest concentrations. There was no difference in the number of falls between the two groups, and the risk of hip fracture was unrelated to age.

The researchers also adjusted for other potential confounding factors such as kidney function, bone turnover, frailty or physical function. They found a while those who were frail or had poor physical function were significantly more likely to suffer from a hip fracture, the connection with vitamin D persisted even after these correlations were adjusted for.

While some prior studies have indicated that low levels of vitamin D increase women's risk of hip fractures, others have failed to do so. The researchers speculated that this may be due to the age of the participants, with less of a correlation in younger women.

"Vitamin D concentration may be more strongly linked to frailty-related fractures, such as hip fractures, which tend to occur in much older women," they wrote.

Vitamin D is known to play a critical role in bone health, and deficiencies are linked to the occurrence of rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults.

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