Can calcium & vitamin D deficiencies cause spine conditions?

Calcium and vitamin D work together in the body to perform a variety of important tasks. Calcium is a vital component for proper functioning of the heart, muscles and nerves. Vitamin D is needed for the body to absorb calcium. A calcium deficiency, or an inability to properly absorb calcium, can lead to the development of osteoporosis. A vitamin D deficiency forces the body to take calcium from its stores in the bones, including the spine, weakening the skeletal structure and preventing the formation of new, strong bone.

Calcium-rich foods

Studies have shown that most Americans do not receive enough dietary calcium to maintain a healthy skeleton for a lifetime. There are many dairy and non-dairy foods that are good sources of dietary calcium, such as:

  • Milk, cheese and yogurt
  • Baked beans
  • Salmon
  • Broccoli
  • Almonds
  • Peas
  • Fortified oatmeal, bread, orange juice, etc.

People with naturally occurring calcium deficiencies or an inability to absorb dietary calcium might need to take calcium supplements. The amount of calcium required in a daily diet depends on age:

  • 0 to 6 months — 210 mg
  • 7 to 12 months — 270 mg
  • 1 to 3 years — 500 mg
  • 4 to 8 years — 800 mg
  • 9 to 18 years — 1,300 mg
  • 19 to 50 years — 1,000 mg
  • 50 and older — 1,200 mg

Where to get vitamin D

Vitamin D can also be received through diet or supplements, but most people receive all the vitamin D they need from sunshine. About 15 minutes in the sun — without sunscreen — several times a week usually provides enough vitamin D. However, extended exposure to the sun’s UV rays is not recommended.

When calcium and vitamin D deficiencies lead to spine conditions

Failure to consume the proper amount of calcium and vitamin D can result in a weakened spine and painful spinal conditions like bone spurs, osteoporosis and bulging discs. Talk to your physician about ways to maintain proper levels of calcium, vitamin D and other essential vitamins and minerals so that you can prevent the development of these and other conditions.

If you have already been diagnosed with a spine condition, increasing your intake of calcium and vitamin D in combination with other conservative treatment may be effective in relieving painful symptoms. However, there are times when conservative treatment is not enough. If you have been diagnosed with a spine condition and several weeks or months of nonsurgical treatment have proven ineffective, surgery may your next step. Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about the minimally invasive procedures we perform. To determine whether you may be a candidate for our procedures, we can provide a free MRI review.*