Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies can lead to a higher risk for osteoporosis, according to a new study published in PLoS one. 

It is estimated that 10.2 million people aged 50 years and older in the United States suffer from osteoporosis, with 80% of those cases being females. Additionally, potentially 44% of the population, or 43.4 million people, have osteopenia, which is a bone condition that can often lead to osteoporosis, according to the press release. More than 2 million osteoporosis-related fractures occur each year, leading to over $19 million in health care costs. 

The study, funded by Pharmative LLC, was a cross-sectional analysis of the US population, with data taken from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Study. A specific focus was placed on those living below the poverty line with food insecurities. Poverty can be a barrier to reliably and routinely acquiring adequate nutrition.

One-quarter of older Americans live below the poverty line. In this population, 68% have inadequate calcium intake and 46% have inadequate vitamin D intake, according to the press release. The study found that low-income, non-Hispanic Black men had a 2-times greater risk for developing osteoporosis. Poverty-stricken men are more affected by inadequate calcium and vitamin D intake with respect to osteoporosis, according to the press release. However, American women over the age of 50 years consistently have inadequate calcium intake, no matter economic status. 

Age, gender and diet also contribute to the development of osteoporosis, according to the study. 

"Improving the consumption of nutrient-rich and fortified foods among individuals that live in poverty can help to decrease their chances of developing osteoporosis. Additionally, dietary supplements can play a critical role in helping any underserved population meet their nutrition needs- including making supplements readily available through programs like SNAP, for example…Our research demonstrates that participants with SNAP benefits and more access to food, have fewer nutrient inadequacies which helps them meet their nutrition needs," Vice President of Science & Technology at Pharmavite, Susan Hazels Mitmesser, PhD, said in the press release. 

 
Reference:
Calcium and vitamin D nutrient deficiencies lead to higher risk for osteoporosis (News release), West Hills, CA, July 28, 2020, EurekAlert!, Accessed August 17, 2020