The Association of Vitamin D in Youth and Early Adulthood with Bone Mineral Density and Microarchitecture in Early Adulthood

  • Yi Yang
  • Feitong Wu
  • Tania Winzenberg
  • Graeme JonesEmail author
Original Research


This study aimed to describe the association of vitamin D status at different stages of growth with bone measures in adolescence and early adulthood. There were 415 participants followed from age 8 to 16, and 201 further followed to age 25. Areal bone mineral density (BMD) at the spine, hip and total body was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry at ages 16 and 25, and tibial and radial trabecular and cortical bone microarchitecture by high resolution peripheral quantitative computerised tomography at age 25. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) concentrations were measured at ages 8, 16 and 25. Multivariable linear regression was used to analyse the association of 25OHD concentrations at three timepoints with bone measures at ages 16 and 25. The proportion of participants with vitamin D deficiency (< 50 nmol/L) was 11%, 43% and 41% at three timepoints, respectively. Serum 25OHD concentrations at age 8 were not significantly associated with any bone measures at age 16 or 25. Serum 25OHD concentrations at age 16 had a significant association with higher BMD at nearly all sites at ages 16 and 25 as well as lower radial porosity and more compact trabecular microarchitecture (higher density, increased number and reduced separation) at both the radius and tibia at age 25. Serum 25OHD concentrations at age 25 were only associated with hip BMD. Higher vitamin D concentrations in adolescence, to a lesser extent at age 25, have beneficial associations with BMD and bone microarchitecture in early adulthood. Optimising vitamin D status particularly during adolescence should be a priority.


Adolescence Early adulthood Bone development 25-Hydroxyvitamin D HRpQCT 



This research was supported by National Health and Medical Research Council (Grant Number: APP1045408). FW was supported by an Arthritis Foundation Australia—Australian Rheumatology Association Heald Fellowship, funded by the Australian Rheumatology Association and Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation. FW is supported by a NHMRC Early Career Fellowship (APP1158661). GJ is supported by a Practitioner Fellowship, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (1117037). All authors would like to thank all the staff and participants involved in this study.

Author Contributions

GJ and TW contributed to study design. GJ, YY and TW helped with study conduct. YY and GJ involved in data collection. YY, FW and GJ contributed to data analysis. YY, GJ, FW and TW helped with data interpretation. YY and GJ involved in drafting manuscript. All authors contributed to revising manuscript content. All authors approved final version of manuscript. GJ takes responsibility for the integrity of the data analysis.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Yi Yang, Feitong Wu, Tania Winzenberg, Graeme Jones declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

Written informed consent was obtained from all participants and/or their parents or guardians. This study was approved by the University of Tasmania Human Research Ethics Committee.

Supplementary material

223_2019_529_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 14 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yi Yang
    • 1
  • Feitong Wu
    • 1
  • Tania Winzenberg
    • 1
  • Graeme Jones
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Menzies Institute for Medical ResearchUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

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