A low bone density predisposes to osteoporotic fractures and research indicates that these children may benefit from vitamin D supplement.
Decreased bone strength characterises Osteoporosis. Skeletal fragility is enhanced in this condition and hence greater are the risks of acquiring fractures. More than 300 million people in India suffer osteoporosis. A low bone density is one of the most important predisposing factors for osteoporotic fractures. A diagnosis of osteoporosis is most commonly made by measuring the Bone mineral density (BMD). Building bone density in children prevents osteoporosis in later life.
AdvertisementVitamin D is essential for skeletal maintenance. It enhances calcium absorption; reduces losses of calcium from the body and promotes calcium deposition into bone. Researches embarked on a quest to find if supercharging levels of vitamin D in healthy children encouraged their bones to lay down greater amounts of calcium. Theoretically this could prevent them from developing osteoporosis on aging.
Existing literature was searched for; details from randomised controlled trials were picked up and analysed. The results were published in Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 10.
"Vitamin D supplementation had no statistically significant effects on bone density at any site in healthy children. There was, however, some indication that children who had low levels of vitamin D in their blood might benefit from supplementation," says the study leader Dr Tania Winzenberg, from the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania.
Healthy children with normal vitamin D levels do not benefit from vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D supplements can bring no improvement in bone density at the hip, lumbar spine, forearm or in the body as a whole in these healthy children.
What we now require are detailed studies to find out whether supplements are of any utility in vitamin D deficient children.
In brief this study indicates that a low bone density is one of the most important predisposing factors for osteoporotic fractures. Healthy children with normal vitamin D levels do not benefit from vitamin D supplements in terms of BMD. Vitamin D supplements can bring no improvement in bone density at the hip, lumbar spine, forearm or in the body as a whole in these healthy children.
Reference: Winzenberg TM, Powell S, Shaw KA, Jones G. Vitamin D supplementation for improving bone mineral density in children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 10. Art. No.: CD006944. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006944.pub2.
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