Prevalence of Vitamin D Insufficiency in an Adult Normal Population
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The vitamin D status of a general adult urban population was estimated between November and April in 1569 subjects selected from 20 French cities grouped in nine geographical regions (between latitude 43° and 51° N). Major differences in 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration were found between regions, the lowest values being seen in the North and the greatest in the South, with a significant ‘sun’ effect (r = 0.72; p = 0.03) and latitude effect (r = -0.79; p = 0.01). In this healthy adult population, 14% of subjects exhibited 25(OH)D values ≤ 30 nmol/l (12 ng/ml), which represents the lower limit (< 2 SD) for a normal adult population measured in winter with the same method (RIA Incstar). A significant negative correlation was found between serum intact parathyroid hormone (iPTH) and serum 25(OH)D values (p < 0.01). Serum iPTH held a stable plateau level at 36 pg/ml as long as serum 25(OH)D values were higher than 78 nmol/l (31 ng/ml), but increased when the serum 25(OH)D value fell below this. When the 25(OH)D concentration became equal to or lower than 11.3 nmol/l (4.6 ng/ml), the PTH values reached the upper limit of normal values (55 pg/ml) found in vitamin D replete subjects. These results showed that in French normal adults living in an urban environment with a lack of direct exposure to sunshine, diet failed to provide an adequate amount of vitamin D. It is important to pay attention to this rather high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency in the general adult population and to discuss the clinical utility of winter supplementation with low doses of vitamin D.
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