Calcified Tissue International

, Volume 74, Issue 3, pp 255–263

Vitamin D Insufficiency in Greenlanders on a Westernized Fare: Ethnic Differences in Calcitropic Hormones Between Greenlanders and Danes

Authors

    • Dept of Endocrinology and Metabolism CAarhus Amtssygehus, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus
    • Faculty of Health SciencesAarhus University, Aarhus
  • M. E. Jørgensen
    • Dept of MedicineQueen Ingrids Hospital, Nuuk
    • Steno Diabetes Centre, Gentofte
  • M. B. Pedersen
    • Dept of MedicineQueen Ingrids Hospital, Nuuk
  • J. C. Hansen
    • Faculty of Health SciencesAarhus University, Aarhus
    • Center for Arctic Environmental Medicine, Dept of Environmental and Occupational MedicineAarhus University, Aarhus
  • L. Heickendorff
    • Dept of Clinical Biochemistry, Aarhus AmtssygehusAarhus University Hospital, Aarhus
  • A. L. Lauridsen
    • Dept of Clinical Biochemistry, AKHAarhus University Hospital, Aarhus
  • G. Mulvad
    • Center for Primary Health Care, Nuuk
  • C. Siggaard
    • Faculty of Health SciencesAarhus University, Aarhus
  • H. Skjoldborg
    • Faculty of Health SciencesAarhus University, Aarhus
  • T. B. Sørensen
    • Faculty of Health SciencesAarhus University, Aarhus
  • E. B. Pedersen
    • Faculty of Health SciencesAarhus University, Aarhus
    • Dept of MedicineHospital of Holstebro, Holstebro
  • L. Mosekilde
    • Dept of Endocrinology and Metabolism CAarhus Amtssygehus, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus
    • Faculty of Health SciencesAarhus University, Aarhus
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00223-003-0110-9

Cite this article as:
Rejnmark, L., Jørgensen, M., Pedersen, M. et al. Calcif Tissue Int (2004) 74: 255. doi:10.1007/s00223-003-0110-9

Abstract

We studied the influence of age, gender, latitude, season, diet and ethnicity on plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D 25 OHD, PTH, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, vitamin D-binding protein, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase, and osteocalcin levels in 46 Greenlanders living in Nuuk (64°N) on a traditional fare (group A), 45 Greenlanders living in Nuuk on a westernized fare (group B), 54 Greenlanders (group C), and 43 Danes (Group D) living in Denmark (55°N) on a westernized fare. Blood specimens were drawn both summer and winter. Vitamin D insufficiency (plasma 25 OHD <40 nmol/l) was common in all four study groups during summer (23–74%) and winter (42–81%). Compared to groups A and D, vitamin D insufficiency was significantly more frequent in groups B and C. In all groups, summer levels of 25 OHD were above winter levels. Multiple regression analysis revealed a significant effect of ethnicity. Compared to Danes, Greenlanders had higher 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels, but lower 25 OHD and PTH levels despite relatively low plasma calcium concentrations. In addition to ethnicity, 25(OH)D levels were influenced by age, season (summer > winter), and diet (a traditional Inuit diet>westernized diet). Ethnical differences exist between Greenlanders and Danes. Our results suggest that Greenlanders may have an inherent lower “set-point” for calcium-regulated PTH release or an enhanced renal 1,25(OH)2D production. In addition to ethnicity, age, season, and diet were important determinants of vitamin D status. Changes from a traditional to a westernized fare are associated with a reduced vitamin D status in Greenlanders. Vitamin D supplementation should be considered.

Keywords

Steroid hormones Vitamin D Peptide hormones PTH/PTHrP Bone Turnover Markers Greenland Ethnicity

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003