Vitamin D and Spinal Injury – a link? | Bolt Burdon Kemp Vitamin D and Spinal Injury – a link? | Bolt Burdon Kemp

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Vitamin D and Spinal Injury – a link?

Vitamins and minerals are nutrients your body needs in small amounts to work properly and stay healthy. Most people should get all the nutrients they need by having a varied and balanced diet, although some people may need to take extra supplements.

Recently I came across a study in the Journal of Nutritional Science, exploring vitamin D deficiency in spinal cord patients entitled Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in patients with spinal cord injury at admission: a single-centred study in the UK..

This study showed that 24% of patients (out of 196) admitted to a UK SCI centre in January-December 2017 were vitamin D deficient at admission. Generally, in non-disabled people in the UK 18.8% of adults suffer from a vitamin D deficiency in winter. Therefore, vitamin deficiency amongst with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) community was a lot higher than in the general population.

The results of this study showed that patients with non-traumatic SCI’s such as degenerative conditions and infections were even more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency. This does make sense, given that vitamin D contributes to your nervous and immune system.

It is of course important to note that the study in question is limited and there is still work to be done to fully investigate the link between Vitamin D and Spinal Injury. This study was only done in one spinal centre with 196 patients. These are patients who are less likely to have been exposed to sunlight, due to long term hospitalisation or rehabilitation, so a more varied cross section of the SCI may produce different results. However, the longer term impact of vitamin D deficiency can have serious consequences and has been linked to an increased risk of gait disturbances, falls and fractures. Furthermore, vitamin D deficiency has been said to be a contributing factor for conditions such as osteoporosis and skeletal issues in SCI patients. Therefore it seems important, given the clear risks and implications of a vitamin D deficiency, that levels of vitamin D are regularly monitored in those with SCI; not just as part of hospitals admissions but also routine follow ups. This would lead to earlier treatment and hopefully decreased chance of the above risk factors.

Hopefully in the future, more studies will be conducted and any necessary changes made… but for now, it is certainly a start to raising awareness.

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