Vitamin D and spinal cord injury: should we care?
Study design:Narrative review.Objectives:This review provides an overview of the etiological factors and consequences of vitamin D insufficiency in relation to spinal cord injury (SCI) as well as important considerations for vitamin D supplementation.Setting:Montreal, Canada.Methods:Literature search.Results:Vitamin D insufficiency is common in SCI individuals owing to the presence of many contributing factors including limited sun exposure and intake, use of medication and endocrine perturbations. Although there are several biological plausible mechanisms by which vitamin D may act upon musculoskeletal and cardiometabolic health, the impact of vitamin D insufficiency on such systems remains ill defined in SCI. In the absence of guidelines for the management of vitamin D insufficiency in this high-risk population and in an attempt to provide clinical guidance, considerations for vitamin D supplementation such as the type of vitamin D, dosing regimens and toxicity are discussed and tentative recommendations suggested with particular reference to issues faced by SCI patients.Conclusion:Although high rates of vitamin D insufficiency are encountered in SCI individuals, its consequences and the amount of vitamin D required to prevent insufficiency are still unknown, indicating a need for more intervention studies with well-defined outcome measures. Routine screening and monitoring of vitamin D as well as treatment of suboptimal status should be instituted in both acute and chronic setting. The close interactions between vitamin D and related bone minerals should be kept in mind when supplementing SCI individuals, and practices should be individualized with clinical conditions.
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