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Shooting From the Hip: Don’t Forget Your D Vitamins

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Vitamin D, easily obtainable through fortified milk, egg yolks and a few minutes in the sun, can help post-menopausal women from experiencing painful hip fractures.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston were the sites for studies on 30 post-menopausal women who were admitted with hip fractures between 1995 and 1998 and compared to 68 similar women without hip injuries. The research revealed that those with hip fractures had significantly low levels of Vitamin D and that half of those women were deficient in the nutrient.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient that is required for the absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorus by the intestinal tract. It is important for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, enhances immunity and is necessary for thyroid function.

“A woman’s risk of hip fracture is equal to her combined risk of developing breast, ovarian and uterine cancer, ” says Meryl LeBoff, pricipal author of a report appearing in this week’s edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). “Vitamin D supplementation can reduce the risk of debilitating hip fractures.”

Standard dosage of Vitamin D is 400 international units (UI) per day, 600 UI for those over 70 years old. Sources of the vitamin can be found in margarine, chicken liver, fatty fish like salmon, herring, and mackerel, as well as the aforementioned sources of milk, egg yolks and sunlight. The Mayo Clinic reports that 10 to 15 minutes of direct sunlight is enough to synthesize the vitamin through sunlight exposure. Of course, if such food or sunlight sources are not possible or inconvenient, supplementation through a multi-vitamin is another good choice.

Balch, James F., M.D. and Balch, Phyllis A.. C.N.C. “Prescription for Nutritional Healing.” Avery Publishing Group, New York, 1997.

www.cnn.com, April 28, 1999

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