If you are experiencing knee pain at this time of year, the solution may be more sunshine, according to new research from the Clinic Journal of Pain.
According to this study, vitamin D deficiency increases the likelihood of osteoarthritis sufferers to complain of knee pain.
Compared to sufferers with adequate vitamin D levels, osteoarthritis sufferers with vitamin D deficiency were more likely to complain of pain and impaired mobility in their knees.
These results were true regardless of other factors such as weight – although it was true that obese study participants were more likely to suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
The study coauthor, Tony Glover, PhD, commented that vitamin D deficiency is bad for your knees in several ways. For starters, being short of vitamin D increases inflammation, which in turn amplifies pain associated with osteoarthritis. It also indirectly lowers your bone quality.
Unfortunately, Glover says, vitamin D deficiency is a widespread problem, especially during the winter. One recent study from the Journal of Nutrition Research found that almost half of Americans have very low doses of vitamin D in their bodies. Vitamin D is absorbed through the skin from sun exposure – meaning it’s hard to get in the winter, when people spend more time indoors.
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It’s easy to find out if you are vitamin D deficient – a blood test will show whether or not you need more of the vitamin, Glover says. If you are vitamin D deficient, Glover recommends taking a vitamin D supplement during the winter months. The amount of vitamin D that each person needs varies based on weight and body composition – however, since vitamin D is stored in fat cells, those with higher levels of body fat might not require as much.
In addition to the pain and loss of function associated with osteoarthritis, vitamin D deficiency is also linked to cases of dementia – so be sure you get your levels checked and your doses up this winter!