Three-fourths of hip fractures in the elderly are related to vitamin D deficiency, experts say
Researchers from India have found that three-quarters of osteoporosis-related hip fractures are related to vitamin D deficiency, according to statistics delivered at the First Asia-Pacific Regional Osteoporosis Meeting held in Singapore.
In a study of 90 hip-fracture patients and an equal number of unafflicted peers, scientists in New Delhi measured the levels of a number of vitamins and human hormones in blood donated by participants.
The research team checked the patients' levels of calcifediol - a prehormone created from vitamin D whose blood-serum level is commonly used to indicate absorption of the vitamin - as well as serum calcium, serum phosphorous and other hormones and enzymes linked to bone health.
The study's authors found that more than 75 percent of individuals who had suffered hip fractures had deficient levels of calcifediol, which they defined as being below 20 nanograms for every 100 milliliters of blood.
By comparison, only about a third of patients without hip fractures had levels of calcifediol low enough to be considered deficient.
Researchers also measured the participants' levels of intact parathyroid hormone (PTH) and found that seven in 10 hip-fracture sufferers had elevated levels of the hormone. The team reported that overactive parathyroid glands, and thus high levels of PTH, are a good indicator of an increased risk of osteoporosis.
Elevated PTH levels may indirectly lead to decalcification of the bones.
The study's authors concluded that testing mature adults for vitamin D deficiency and excess PTH may help healthcare professionals detect and diagnose osteoporosis.
Previous studies have indicated that regular vitamin D supplementation can decrease the risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture.
The vitamin is found in certain fish, eggs and mushrooms. Since it is a fat-soluble compound, or one that can have deleterious health effects if consumed in excess quantities, most health authorities recommend moderating consumption of the vitamin.
Mature adults should consume approximately 15 to 20 micrograms of vitamin D per day, according to the National Institutes of Health and the National Osteoporosis Foundation.