FRIDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Low levels of vitamin D are
commonly found in people who suffer traumatic bone fractures,
according to a new study.
Because vitamin D is an essential component in repairing bone
damage, patients with low vitamin D levels are at higher risk for
improper healing of broken bones.
The University of Missouri researchers examined vitamin D levels
in about 900 adults who suffered traumatic bone fractures as the
result of incidents such as falls and car crashes.
About 79 percent of men and 76 percent of women in the study had
lower-than-recommended vitamin D levels, and about 40 percent of
the women and 38 percent of the men had severely low vitamin D
"One interesting finding of the study is that low and deficient
vitamin D is common for orthopedic trauma patients of all ages,"
Brett Crist, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery, said in
a university news release. "We found that among young adults 18 to
25 years old, nearly 55 percent had low or severely low vitamin D,
and 29 percent had deficient levels."
The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American
Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, as well as at other conferences.
The data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until
published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Based on their findings, the researchers have started
prescribing vitamin D medication for nearly all patients with
broken bones as a protective measure to reduce the risk of healing
"More research is needed to demonstrate whether vitamin D
medications can reduce the risk of bones not healing properly,"
Crist said. "But we know vitamin D is required for repairing damage
to bones, and for most people there is very little risk in taking
vitamin D medications. At this point, we believe it's a reasonable
step for physicians to prescribe the medication as a protective
However, high levels of vitamin D can be dangerous for people
with certain medical conditions, such as kidney disease or cancer.
People should talk to their doctor before using vitamin D
supplements, Crist said.
The Harvard School of Public Health has more about
vitamin D and health.