Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin. It is produced in our skin when we are in sunlight and, in fact, we actually get very little of this vitamin from the food we eat. As a result, you might think that it is one of the last vitamins we should be worrying about when it comes to deficiencies of nutritional substances; however, a recent report shows that worldwide more and more people are suffering from low levels of this vitamin. The consequences of deficiencies are significant. This particular vitamin works together with calcium and is important, not only for keeping our organs in peak condition, but also for the normal development and strength of bones. Low levels of the vitamin in adults can increase the risk of osteoporosis and hip fractures. In children, it can lead to rickets which is where the bones become soft and can fracture or even become deformed.
Osteoporosis is one of the main diseases affecting people around the world. One in three women over the age of fifty will suffer fractures due to osteoporosis and for men the statistics are one in five. With such figures, the search for treatments and preventative measures are a must. At the recent International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) World Congress, highlights included research into the use of strontium ranelate (a compound formed from ranelic acid), bisphosphonates and hormone therapy in the treatment of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis causes bone mineral to dissolve away. As a result, bones lose their density and break easily. Treatments aim to increase a patient's bone mass and strength.