Preventing Bad Breaks: Vitamin D is Critical

Vitamin D, often known as “the sunshine vitamin” because of the way our bodies synthesize it naturally after sun exposure, is such a common nutrient that people may take it for granted that they are getting all they need from simply being outdoors. But that may be a dangerous mistake.

First, in order to prevent deficiency, you need to have at least 40 percent of the body exposed to sunlight for 20 minutes every day. For most of us, regardless of where we live, this just isn’t practical or likely.

Secondly, vitamin D deficiency can be the result of absorption issues. If dietary sources of vitamin D aren’t robust, conditions including celiac and inflammatory bowel disease reduce its effectiveness even further.

Researchers believe that vitamin D deficiency is widespread, and leading to a number of health issues, including brittle bones that, if broken, won’t heal properly. That’s because vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption into the bones and deficiencies of the nutrient can lead to rapid bone tissue turnover. Without proper levels of calcium and other minerals being incorporated into the bones, they quickly become weak and easily broken. Other clinical research has shown that participants with the lowest level of vitamin D also have worse joint pain and joint swelling, so it is critical for overall mobility and well-being.

This particular case study is a good example of what can happen when vitamin D levels are low – bone breaks won’t heal properly, even four years after a fracture. Fortunately, when this patient supplemented with vitamin D, his fracture healed, and his pain disappeared.


Moonen L, Gorter E, Schipper I. The importance of vitamin D in treatment of fracture non-union: A case report. Nutrition. 2021 Jul-Aug;87-88:111192.

The prevalence of hypovitaminosis D is currently increasing. A wide variety of diseases and complications are associated with low vitamin D serum concentrations, including poor fracture healing and fracture non-union. A healthy 44-y-old man presented himself with pain due to a non-union of a femoral shaft fracture at 4 y after the initial injury. The fracture had been operated upon three times and was adequately fixated in anatomic position. Hypovitaminosis D was diagnosed, and subsequent supplementation resulted in complete union of the fracture with full pain relief. This case illustrates the importance of adequate serum vitamin D levels in fracture healing, in addition to other fracture healing facilitating factors. With the increasing prevalence of hypovitaminosis D and possibly associated fracture-related complications, routine vitamin D determination should become part of clinical workup in cases of fracture non-union.

Here is the link to the complete article: The importance of vitamin D in treatment of fracture non-union: A case report