Osteoarthritis is the most common forms of arthritis in which cartilage between the joints breaks down. This causes the bones to rub against each other, causing pain, stiffness and loss of joint movement. A new study has revealed that higher levels of vitamin D may decrease pain and improve function in obese individuals with the bone disease. The study findings indicate that adequate vitamin D levels help obese individuals with osteoarthritis walk, balance and rise from sitting to standing position better than those with insufficient vitamin D levels.
During the study, researchers analyzed blood samples for vitamin D levels from a group of 256 middle-aged and older adults. Among the 126 obese participants, 68 were found to be vitamin D-deficient, while only 29 of the 130 non-obese participants were deficient, suggesting obesity is significantly associated with clinically relevant vitamin D deficiency. The analysis further showed that obesity was associated with vitamin D deficiency, knee osteoarthritis pain and poor functional performance.
Toni Glover, assistant professor at the University of Florida College of Nursing and lead author for the study, said, "Vitamin D maintains calcium and phosphate concentration levels to keep bones strong. Adequate vitamin D may be significant to improving osteoarthritis pain because it affects bone quality and protects cell function to help reduce inflammation. Increased pain due to osteoarthritis could limit physical activity, including outdoor activity, which would lead to both decreased vitamin D levels and increased obesity."