Higher levels of vitamin D may decrease pain and improve function in obese individuals with osteoarthritis, according to a study from the University of Florida.
Findings published in The Clinical Journal of Pain indicate that obese individuals who suffer from osteoarthritis and have adequate vitamin D levels could walk, balance and rise from sitting to standing better than obese participants with insufficient vitamin D levels.
“Adequate vitamin D may be significant to improving osteoarthritis pain because it affects bone quality and protects cell function to help reduce inflammation. Vitamin D maintains calcium and phosphate concentration levels to keep bones strong,” lead author Toni L. Glover, an assistant professor in the UF College of Nursing, part of UF Health, said in a press release. “Increased pain due to osteoarthritis could limit physical activity, including outdoor activity, which would lead to both decreased vitamin D levels and increased obesity.”
The researchers analyzed blood samples for vitamin D levels from a racially-diverse group of 256 middle-aged and older adults. Participants also provided a self-report of knee osteoarthritis pain and completed functional performance tasks such as balance, walking and rising from sitting to standing.
This study was part of a larger project that studies racial and ethnic differences in pain in individuals with osteoarthritis. Among the 126 obese participants, 68 were vitamin D-deficient while only 29 of the 130 non-obese participants were deficient, suggesting obesity may be associated with clinically relevant vitamin D deficiency.
If you are overweight and have osteoarthritis, you may want to bone up on your dairy products that have vitamin D. According to a University of Florida study, higher levels of vitamin D may decrease pain and improve function in obese individuals with osteoarthritis.