A new study published in The Clinical Journal of Pain found that obese individuals who have knee osteoarthritis and healthy vitamin D levels demonstrated higher functional performance than obese participants with insufficient vitamin D levels.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting more than 20 million people in the United States. It occurs when the protective cartilage at the end of your bones wears down as you age. Osteoarthritis most commonly affects joints in your hips, spine, hands, and knees.
Obesity is one of the most significant and modifiable risk factor for osteoarthritis. Due to the increasing rate of obese older adults, the prevalence of knee osteoarthritis is also rising.
Vitamin D levels, obesity, and aging are all associated with adverse health outcomes, including chronic pain. Researchers recently investigated the influence of vitamin D levels and obesity on knee arthritis pain and functional performance.
The researchers assessed the vitamin D levels, functional performance, and pain of 256 middle-aged and older adults with knee osteoarthritis. The participants provided a self-report of knee pain and completed functional performance tasks that included balancing, walking and rising from a sitting position to a standing position.
The researchers found healthy vitamin D levels were significantly associated with less knee osteoarthritis pain compared to participants with deficient or insufficient levels, regardless of obesity status. Those with healthy vitamin D levels could also walk, balance and rise from sitting to standing better than obese participants with insufficient levels.
Lead researcher, Toni Glover, stated, “Vitamin D is inexpensive, available over-the-counter and toxicity is fairly rare.”
“Older obese patients with chronic pain should discuss their vitamin D status with their primary care provider. If it’s low, take a supplement and get judicious sun exposure.”