Inadequate intake of nutrients leads to health problems

Insufficient vitamin D and calcium intake negatively affects bone health and increases the risk of osteoporosis.

Researchers at Pharmavite LLC have used a cross-sectional analysis of the US population to investigate how the insufficient intake of nutrients, especially calcium and vitamin D, affects bone health. The results were published in the English-language journal “PLoS ONE”.

How common is osteoporosis in Germany?

In Germany, around 15 percent of women over the age of 50 and six percent of men in this age group suffer from diagnosed osteoporosis. As women get older, the number of people suffering from osteoporosis increases even further. According to the Robert Koch Institute, there is no such increase in men, depending on age.

Low-income people are particularly at risk

If people don’t get enough calcium in their diet and have a vitamin D deficit, it seems to have a negative impact on bone health, especially the risk of osteoporosis. According to the current study, people below the poverty line are at greater risk. Poverty can be an obstacle to adequate nutrient supply, especially calcium and vitamin D, which favors osteoporosis, the researchers report.

Adequate nutrient supply is important to support general health, well-being and especially the immune system. This is particularly important in view of the threat posed by COVID-19, the researchers emphasize.

Lack of calcium and vitamin intake in the United States

Since it was a cross-sectional analysis from the USA, the findings are not transferable one-to-one to other countries. In the United States, approximately 25 percent of older people live below the poverty line. It was found that, within this group of people, 68 percent had an insufficient intake of calcium and 46 percent had an insufficient intake of vitamin D. Gender, ethnic and socioeconomic differences also appear to affect the overall risk of insufficient calcium and vitamin D intake and the resulting risk of osteoporosis.

Women at least 50 years of age particularly at risk

In addition, regardless of their economic status, the women in the study aged over 50 always had insufficient calcium intake, the researchers report. Inadequate calcium and vitamin D intake affected men living in poverty more than women. The risk of osteoporosis has even doubled among African-American men with low incomes.

Poor people need better support

The results of the research show that people with better access to food are less likely to have nutrient deficiencies. Improving the intake of nutritious and fortified foods in people living in poverty could help reduce their risk of osteoporosis, according to the research team at Pharmavite LLC. Here, dietary supplements are also an option to help underserved populations. However, this conclusion can be questioned critically, since Pharmavite LLC is also a manufacturer of vitamins, minerals and nutritional supplements. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Keri Marshall, Lynn Teo, Christopher Shanahan, LeeCole Legette, Susan Hazels Mitmesser: Inadequate calcium and vitamin D intake and osteoporosis risk in older Americans living in poverty with food insecurities, in PLOS ONE (veröffentlicht 08.07.2020), PLOS ONE
  • Osteoporosis, Robert Koch Institute (queried July 29, 2020), RKI

Important NOTE:
This article contains general information only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.