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Lack of vitamin D causes fragile bones

The new study, conducted by US physicians, is the first to investigate vitamin D insufficiency in paediatric patients with low bone density.

health and fitness Updated: Jun 03, 2008 17:41 IST

Most patients with vitamin D deficiency were found to have a history of fragile bones that exposed them to the risk of osteopororis, according to a study.

The bone disease not only affected adults, but also children. Vitamin D insufficiency may also contribute to low bone mass or even aggravate underlying metabolic bone disease.

Vitamin D is essential in bone growth and mineralisation in children and adults. A mild deficiency causes rickets in children and can be overcome with increased amount of nutritional vitamin D intake as well as sun exposure.

The new study, conducted by US physicians, is the first to investigate vitamin D insufficiency in paediatric patients with low bone density.

Sasigarn Bowden, the study's co-author, explained: "We need to check vitamin D levels in all patients with history of multiple fractures or low bone density and treat the vitamin D problem if the levels are low.

"The supplementation of vitamin D should be a priority in the management of paediatric patients with osteoporosis or osteopenia in order to optimise their bone health and potentially prevent fractures."

Potential factors that may account for vitamin D insufficiency in various chronic medical conditions include low vitamin D intake and decreased sun exposure.

Four studies in Europe found that 80 percent of healthy children and adolescents had insufficient vitamin D levels in the winter.

The study has been published in the latest issue of the journal Paediatrics.