Many Women Lack D: Finding underscores need for education, say researchers

Low vitamin D status often may be overlooked by doctors, leading to inadequate vitamin D supplementation in patients with osteoporosis, say researchers.

A study of 1,554 postmenopausal women showed that 52% of these women had suboptimal vitamin D concentrations. Most study participants were healthy, ambulatory, community-dwelling, white women who were well educated. These results underscore a need for improved physician and patient education regarding optimization of vitamin D status in the care of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.

According to AACE guidelines, people – and particularly children and adolescents – should be striving for a diet with adequate calcium content, good general nutrition, adequate vitamin D intake (at least 400 IU/day; as much as 800 IU/day in the elderly) regular weight-bearing exercise and no tobacco use.

Vitamin D is not widely available in natural food sources. It is primarily found in fish oils (including cod liver oil), some vegetables and fortified milk, cereals and breads. If appropriate, vitamin D supplements should be considered.

American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), May 18, 2005