New Study Finds Nearly Half of Patients Have Low Vitamin D Levels Authors Recommend Screening, Supplementation to Improve Post-Surgical Healing
Forty-three percent of patients scheduled to undergo orthopaedic surgery have insufficient levels of vitamin D and two out of five of those patients had levels low enough to place them at risk for metabolic bone disease, according to a study published this month in the October 6th issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS).
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) , vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and is essential for bone growth and bone remodeling. Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle or misshapen. People can obtain vitamin D in three ways:
• receiving sun exposure; and
• taking supplements
• 202 (28 percent) had insufficient levels; and
• 110 (15 percent) were vitamin D deficient.
“We found that nearly half of the patients who were considered ‘healthy’ enough for surgery had significantly low levels of vitamin D, placing them at risk for poor bone healing, osteomalacia (bone and muscle weakness),” said Dr. Lane, who is also a professor of orthopedic surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. “This was very disconcerting since vitamin D levels can be determined with a simple blood test and low levels can be easily treated with supplements in just a few weeks.”
How much Vitamin D is enough? The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and recent research support that the body needs at least 1000 IU per day for good health — depending on age, weight, and growth. Indeed, many people need much more than 1000 IU to keep Vitamin D levels in a good range.