In a recent study, one group of obese people with osteoarthritis could walk, balance and rise from sitting to standing better than another group of similarly obese people with osteoarthritis. What was the difference?
It might be vitamin D.
Results from a new study from the University of Florida, published in the The Clinical Journal of Pain, suggest a link between higher levels of vitamin D and lower levels of pain and increased function in obese individuals with osteoarthritis.
“Adequate vitamin D may be significant to improving osteoarthritis pain because it affects bone quality and protects cell function to help reduce inflammation,” the study’s lead author, Toni L. Glover, an assistant professor in the University of Florida College of Nursing, said in a university 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 study included a racially diverse group of 256 middle-aged and older adults. Researchers analyzed the levels of vitamin D in their blood. Subjects also provided a self-report of knee osteoarthritis pain and completed functional performance tasks such as balance, walking and rising from sitting to standing. The study was part of a larger project studying racial and ethnic differences in pain in individuals with osteoarthritis.
Recent studies continue to further our understanding of the link between obesity and vitamin D.