A recent study conducted in part by USDA-funded researchers has found that insufficient vitamin D status is associated with an increased risk of developing knee osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, affecting nearly 28 million Americans. It occurs when the natural cushioning between the joints wears down over time, allowing the bones to rub together. This condition most commonly affects the joints in the hands, knees, hips and spine.
OA worsens over time, and no cure exists. Therefore, there is a large interest in finding ways to prevent or treat the disorder.
Recently, researchers assessed the relationship between vitamin D status and the progression of knee osteoarthritis. The study included 418 volunteers who were between the ages of 45 and 79 years with evidence of knee osteoarthritis in at least one knee. The volunteers were followed for a total of four years, during which time the progression of the condition was tracked.
The researchers found that participants with low vitamin D levels (less than 15 ng/ml) had more than double the risk of their knee osteoarthritis worsening compared to the volunteers with healthy vitamin D levels. In addition, people who had both low vitamin D and high parathyroid hormone levels had more than three times the risk of their condition worsening than those with healthy levels of both.