Researchers at the University of Delaware in Newark have found that vitamin D deficiency among older women is often accompanied by back pain.
The study is published in the May 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The team analyzed the blood levels of vitamin D in 958 people over age 64. More than half of the women studied had pain somewhere in their body compared to more than a quarter of the men.
Vitamin D levels had no connection to pain for men. For women, low levels had no connection to pain either—except when it came to back pain. In that case, women with D deficiency had double the chance of back pain.
One explanation may be that women’s bones soften more than men’s, and this may cause back pain. The researchers encourage more studies to identify whether vitamin D consumption should be further encouraged among older people.
Last year, Canada’s Food Guide, for the first time, incorporated recommendations that women and men over 50 take 400 IU of vitamin D tablets every day. Health Canada has said it will launch an investigation this autumn to examine the impact of vitamin D on various illnesses.
Maclean’s explored the benefits and risks associated with vitamin and mineral supplements recently. The bottom line: find out what you really need, or don’t need, and get on it.