Study Finds Vitamin D Prevents Stress Fractures in Teen Girls
Recent research has shown that vitamin D intake can greatly reduce the risk of stress fractures in teen and preteen girls.
Researchers studied over 6,700 girls from the ages of 9 to 15. They documented dairy, calcium, and vitamin D intake as well as the occurrence of stress fractures among the test group. The results found that dairy and calcium had no relation to the occurrence of stress fractures, but that vitamin D intake lowered the risk of stress fractures.
Stress fractures result from placing intense prolonged pressure on a bone. They can develop over time and are especially common in athletes and girls.
Dr. Silverman Comments
Vitamin D is such an important co-factor and is finally receiving the attention it deserves. The study demonstrates that many of the long held truisms of medical advice are false. Higher levels of calcium intake are not protective of stress fractures. Instead, vitamin D intake is inversely related to stress fractures. Low levels of vitamin D have already been identified as a risk factor for osteoporotic fractures.
Medical recommendations need to change. We need to evaluate vitamin D levels more routinely. As an orthopedic surgeon, I have been evaluating and treating my patients for vitamin D insufficiency for the last few years. All my patients receive prophylactic vitamin D, in addition to other vitamins, before surgery. To my pleasant surprise I have discovered that some patients sent to me for a second opinion to treat a non-union that required only vitamin D to heal. One of my favorite stories of treatment is the unexpected side effect of treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression usually treated with UV light therapy.