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Prevalence and determinants of vitamin D deficiency in healthy French adults: the VARIETE study


The U.S. Institute of Medicine considers that a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) concentration >20 ng/mL corresponds to optimal vitamin D status in the general population. Old studies of vitamin D status in the French general population have demonstrated high prevalence of insufficiency. We measured serum 25OHD, 1,25(OH)2D, PTH, calcium, phosphorus, and creatinine levels in 892 French Caucasian healthy subjects (463 men, 429 women) aged from 18 to 89 years. The 25OHD concentration was similar in men (24.1 ± 8.2 ng/mL) and women (23.4 ± 8.0 ng/mL). 25OHD concentrations of <10, <12, <20, and <30 ng/mL were found in respectively 6.3, 9.9, 34.6, and 80.3 % of subjects. Residence in northern France (odds ratio [OR] 1.91), blood sampling between January and March (OR 7.74), BMI ≥24 kg/m2 (OR 1.81), and age 60 years or more (OR 1.99) were significant determinants of hypovitaminosis D (25OHD <20 ng/mL). The serum 25OHD level correlated positively with 1,25(OH)2D and negatively with PTH. 25OHD values below 20 ng/mL were associated with lower 1,25(OH)2D levels, and 25OHD values below 27 ng/mL were associated with higher PTH levels. Many French healthy adults have a 25OHD concentration <20 ng/mL, especially during winter months. Actions to improve the vitamin D status of the French general population are urgently needed.

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We thank DiaSorin for its kind donation of the PTH, 1,25(OH)2D, and 25OHD assay kits. We thank the physicians and technicians of the clinical research units that recruited and examined the healthy subjects, and/or collected data.


This research was supported by a Grant from Programme Hospitalier de Recherche Clinique, French Ministry of Health, No. P081216/IDRCB 2009-A00892-55.

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Correspondence to Jean-Claude Souberbielle.

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JCS reports lecture fees and/or travel/hotel expenses from DiaSorin, Roche Diagnostics, Abbott, Amgen, Shire, MSD, Lilly, and Rottapharm; CM reports lecture fees and travel/hotel expenses from DiaSorin; EC is a consultant for IDS and DiaSorin and has received lecture fees from IDS, DiaSorin, Roche, Abbott, and Amgen; SBT and PC have nothing to disclose.

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Souberbielle, JC., Massart, C., Brailly-Tabard, S. et al. Prevalence and determinants of vitamin D deficiency in healthy French adults: the VARIETE study. Endocrine 53, 543–550 (2016).

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  • Vitamin D
  • 25-Hydroxyvitamin D
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Parathyroid hormone
  • Calcitriol