has been reporting on new research concerning Vitamin D deficiencies consistently throughout the last year. It appears that many in our population haven’t been aware that they aren’t getting enough of the sunshine vitamin and deficiencies are more common than previously thought.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to our bone health and the risk of fracture based on low calcium intake and reduced bone density. Now a new study conducted by a team of U.S. and German scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California Berkeley is illustrating that the bone-aging process can be significantly accelerated because of Vitamin D deficiency. In fact, it appears that this vitamin deficiency actually reduces bone quality.

Researchers noted that it had always been assumed that the main problem with Vitamin D deficiency is the reduction of mineralization that aids in the creation of new bone mass. What the study shows is that low levels of Vitamin D induce premature aging of existing bone. They are hopeful that studies like this will help science develop ways to prevent or treat fractures in patients with deficiencies.

Vitamin-D is essential for the body to absorb calcium. The body normally synthesizes vitamin D in the skin following exposure to sunlight. That’s how Vitamin D got its famous nickname. However, when vitamin D is deficient, the body will remove calcium from bone to maintain normal calcium blood levels. The reduction of calcium in the existing bone disturbs the mineralization process that’s required for the formation of new bone mass. In children, vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets. In adults, vitamin D deficiency causes osteomalacia, a softening of the bones that results in bone pain, muscle weakness and the risk of deformation and fracture.

The scientists hypothesized that restoring the normal level of Vitamin D would correct the mineralization process. To test this hypothesis, the team collected bone samples from 30 participants, half of whom were deficient in vitamin D and showed early signs of osteomalacia. While vitamin D-deficient subjects had less overall mineralization due to a reduction of mineralized bone, underneath the new non-mineralized surfaces, the existing bone was actually more heavily mineralized, and displayed the characteristics of older and more brittle bone. The areas of mineralized bone were surrounded by a boundary that stopped them from being remodeled. So the isolated sections of mineralized bones began to age. They determined that Vitamin D deficiency increased the possibility of fracture by between 22 and 31 percent.

This study, along with many other recent findings regarding the importance of Vitamin D encourage us all to get out in the sun and include food sources of this important vitamin in our diets. knows our community is aware that fortified milk, orange juice and yogurt are easy ways to get more Vitamin D. In addition, eggs, tuna, swordfish, salmon and sardines are a few more dietary sources. Our bone health is important to our well-being as we age. Let’s all make sure we do everything we can to make sure that we stand straight and tall, supported by our healthy bones throughout our lives.