Was Lack of Sunlight Responsible for Anderson Silva’s Terrible Leg Fracture?

Was Lack of Sunlight Responsible for Anderson Silva’s Terrible Leg Fracture?

By: Marc Sorenson, Sunlight Institute–

Anderson Silva, probably the best UFC fighter in history, suffered a horrible career-ending lower-leg fracture in his latest fight. As he executed a simple kick to the knee of his opponent, his lower leg shattered. Obviously, his bones were fragile. Mike Adams, AKA the Health Ranger, posits that the injury was likely due to low vitamin D levels.[i] Anderson Silva is dark-skinned, and most training for UFC is done indoors, so I would agree with Mike Adams’ assessment. Even when out in the sunlight, dark skin can take up to 6 times as long as white skin to produce the same quantity of vitamin D.[ii] Therefore, dark athletes who train indoors would be even more likely to have weaker bones.

Several studies have shown the efficacy of vitamin D in reducing fractures of various kinds. Stress fractures caused by physical training among military recruits is 3.6 times higher in those whose vitamin D levels are low compared to those whose levels are in “normal” ranges.[iii] Women in Spain who are continually seeking the sun have about one-eleventh the risk of hip fractures as those who have little sunlight exposure.[iv] It has also been proved several times by a Japanese physician, Dr. Sato that sunlight exposure can halt brittle bones and profoundly reduce the risk of hip fracture in women who already suffer from osteoporosis.[v]

Sunlight is necessary for stimulating the production of vitamin D in the skin, and vitamin D is absolutely essential for the absorption of calcium in the gut and for the maintenance of calcium stores in the bones to prevent bone diseases. One investigation showed that when serum levels of vitamin D increased from an average of 20 ng/ml to 34.6 ng/ml, calcium absorption increased by 65%, and the risk of hip, wrist, forearm or vertebral fracture was reduced by 33%.[vi] My opinion is that vitamin D levels should be between 60 and 70 ng/ml. Had that level been achieved in the subjects, it is likely that fractures risk would have been decreased more impressively.

We don’t know what Anderson’s serum levels of vitamin are, but he should find out. If they are low, he may be able to heal his injuries much faster by doing a lot of sunbathing.



[ii] Harris SS, Dawson-Hughes B. Seasonal changes in plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations of young American black and white women. Am J Clin Nutr 1998;67:1232-36

[iii] Ruohola JP, Laaksi I, Ylikomi T, Haataja R, Mattila VM, Sahi T, Tuohimaa P, Pihlajamäki H. Association between serum 25(OH0d concentrations and bone stress fractures in Finnish young men.  J Bone Miner Res 2006;21:1483-88.

[iv] Larrosa, M.  Vitamin D deficiency and related factors in patients with osteoporotic hip fracture.  Med Clin (BARC) 2008;130:6-9.

[v]¨Sato, Y. et al.  Amelioration of osteoporosis and hypovitaminosis D by sunlight exposure in stroke patients.  Neurology2003;61:338-42.

[vi] Heaney RP, Dowell MS, Hale CA, Bendich A. Calcium Absorption Varies within the Reference Range for Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D.  J Am Coll Nutr 2003;22:142-46.d

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