In winter we begin to suffer decreased levels of vitamin D. – Ruidoso News
For the last few weeks we have been going through the body, joint by joint, looking at things to improve joint health and function.
Today, we are going to start reviewing some of the basic nutrition that effects bone and joint pain. I want to start with a quick review of vitamin D. As winter is approaching, many of us will begin to suffer decreased levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D levels, of course, are directly influenced by sun exposure, and as the temperatures drop so does our sun exposure.
Vitamin D plays a huge role in health, with a particularly heavy influence on the immune system. There is actually very good evidence that one of the primary causes of the so called cold and flu season is vitamin D deficiency. For your purposes, today I want to discuss the role of vitamin D in musculoskeletal pain. Vitamin D is critical in maintaining calcium levels in bone.
You can take all the calcium in the world, but without vitamin D, your bone density won’t improve. One interesting clinical signs of vitamin D deficiency is palpitatroy tenderness of the bones. That’s a fancy way of saying that direct pressure on a bone of a person deficient in vitamin D is painful.
So test yourself, run your knuckle down the shin bone, and see if it is tender. Obviously if it is, bone pain may be contributing to your joint pain, overall pain, and risk of bone fracture. Many of us know about the effect of vitamin D on bones, but did you know vitamin D also effects your muscles? Vitamin D deficiency causes muscle weakness and loss of muscle mass, specifically of the type 2 muscle fibers.
Type 2 muscle fibers are called the fast twitch muscle, and is responsible for quick movements. As this muscle is compromised, the risk of falls is greatly increased. Vitamin D also plays a role in cartilage metabolism. If you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, or degenerative disk disease, low levels of vitamin D may be part of the problem. Vitamin D levels are easily tested with a blood test.
If deficiencies are detected, supplementation is usually prescribed. If you are considering a vitamin D supplement, you need to know there are two forms of vitamin D, vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. According to a 2008 study, vitamin D3 shows performs better in correcting deficiencies. As a general guide blood levels of vitamin D should be between 100 and 110 nmol/l.
If you have had yearly lab work lately, you can check your levels. Vitamin D supplementation according to researched published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, daily doses of 1,000 IUs of vitamin D3 was appropriate to correct vitamin D deficiency.
Consider having vitamin D tested the next time you have lab work done, it effects more than you might think.
Dr. Joseph Fraley D.C. is the owner of Alpha Omega Chiropractic, 106 Alpine Village Road. Contact Fraley at 575-258-5999.