Research has proven there is a clear link between vitamin D blood levels and bone mineral density (BMD). In many people, but especially in the elderly, vitamin D deficiency is common. In the elderly this deficiency often occurs due to reduced exposure to sunlight, as well as a reduced ability to synthesize vitamin D in the skin. Vitamin D is necessary for the intestinal absorption of calcium. When levels are low, less calcium enters the body and is therefore unavailable for bone mineralization and support. This overall depletion leads to reduced bone structure and strength, which is often more prevalent in older women. A recent study published in Osteoporosis International (March 2010), reported a positive increase in BMD in postmenopausal women after daily supplementation with vitamin D and calcium. The Osteoporosis Risk Factor and Prevention- Fracture Prevention Study (OSTPRE-FPS) followed 593 women, the average age being 68.5 years, either receiving daily supplementation or none at all, over a three year period. Supplementation consisted of vitamin D 400 IU and calcium 500 mg, twice daily. Study results showed a significant total body BMD increase in those receiving supplementation when compared to those not supplemented. This study, as do other studies, supports the need for vitamin D and calcium supplementation for strengthening and retaining skeletal health.
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