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Low Vitamin D Levels Associated with Fractures in Active People

If you run or do other high-impact sports, here’s a reason to keep your vitamin D level up: research has found an association between low vitamin D status and stress fractures in active people. Stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bone that can be caused by starting a new activity or increasing the amount or intensity of physical activity too quickly. The study was published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery and included 53 patients diagnosed with stress fractures. Researchers analyzed blood samples taken from the patients within three months of diagnosis to determine their vitamin D status. They found that more than 80% of these patients (44 of the 53) had 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels below 40 ng/mL, and that more than 50% of them had levels below 30 ng/ml. Although there is still no consensus on optimal vitamin D levels, it is now generally accepted that a 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of less than 20 ng/mL constitutes a deficiency, and levels ranging from 20 to 40 ng/ml may be insufficient.

While these findings may make you want to sprint to the vitamin aisle, it’s important to know that this study was observational and only analyzed vitamin D status in active people who already had stress fractures. More clinical research is needed to understand if improving vitamin D status could help prevent stress fractures in active people. Fortunately, if you’re looking to boost your D, there are lots of great foods that contain vitamin D, such as salmon and tuna, and fortified foods like orange juice, milk, and yogurt. A multivitamin may also be a good choice; be sure to talk to your healthcare practitioner if you’d like to add a vitamin D supplement (or any new supplement) to your health regimen.

Source: Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery

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