From the US and Germany, a team of scientists has found that bone-aging process can be significantly accelerated through deficiency of vitamin D - the sunshine vitamin.
Vitamin D deficiency is a widespread medical condition that has been linked to the health and fracture risk of human bone on the basis of low calcium intake and reduced bone density.
However, working at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light ALS), a DOE national user facility, the international team demonstrated that vitamin D deficiency also reduces bone quality.
"The assumption has been that the main problem with vitamin D deficiency is reduced mineralization for the creation of new bone mass, but we've shown that low levels of vitamin D also induces premature aging of existing bone," Robert Ritchie, who led the US portion of this collaboration, said.
Ritchie holds joint appointments with Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division and the University of California (UC) Berkeley's Materials Science and Engineering Department.
"Unraveling the complexity of human bone structure may provide some insight into more effective ways to prevent or treat fractures in patients with vitamin D deficiency," Bjorn Busse, of the Department of Osteology and Biomechanics at the University Medical Center in Hamburg, Germany, who led the German portion of the team, said.
The findings are published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.