Health Tips: Vitamin D deficiency can cause lower back pain after menopause

When animal rights activist, actress, music PR executive, mom and creator of, Meg Mathews experienced menopause around age 50, she reported: “My joints were so inflamed; I used to be able to get up and do a downward dog, but I was walking to the bathroom like an old lady. It was taking my body a lot longer to wake up.” 

A study from the Department of Spinal Surgery, Shanghai East Hospital, Shanghai, China, published in Menopause, echoes her observations about the relationship of menopause to loss of flexibility and pain. It found that 13% of the women in the study, average age 65, were severely D-ficient, and that a vitamin D concentration below 10ng/mL was a marker of severe lower back pain and lumbar disc degeneration.

So, if you’re premenopausal or menopausal and are experiencing lower back pain, ask your doc about getting a blood test for low D. 

-- If you’re deficient, you may take 2,000 IU of D3 a day until levels normalize, and then take what your doctor says will keeps your level between 35 to 80ng/mL.

-- Get retested regularly. 

-- Don’t lower your D level -- or up your chances for disc degeneration and back pain -- with smoking or weight gain.

-- Enjoy D-livery in foods like salmon (3 ounces has more than 450IUs), mushrooms, and D-enriched soy products. 

-- Ask about bone-strength-protecting hormone replacement, taken with a low-dose aspirin twice a day and started within five years of your last period, and continued for no more than 10 years.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit

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