Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in a healthy population from the North of Portugal.J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2018 01; 175:97-101.JS
Vitamin D status in human populations has become a matter of great concern, in the wake of a multitude of published works that document widespread vitamin D deficiency across Europe, even in countries with abundant sunlight. In Portugal there are no measures of 25-hydroxyvitamin D - 25(OH)D - levels in the general adult population. The purpose of this study was to measure 25(OH)D levels in a healthy population cohort and investigate the possible association with season and selected demographic and laboratory measurements. A cohort of 198 participants (18-67 years) living in the north of Portugal, Porto, conducted in July and August 2015 (summer time) and April 2016 (winter time) was studied to evaluate serum 25(OH)D levels. Sociodemographic characteristics (age, sex and body mass index) and season of the year were taken into account as possible 25(OH)D levels codeterminants. In the whole group, the mean level of serum 25(OH)D was 55.4±23.4 nmol/L, with 48% of the population presenting levels compatible with vitamin D deficiency (below 50 nmol/L). In the winter period, this value reaches 74%. No statistically significant differences were observed between genders (57.4±23.9 vs. 53.3±22.8 nmol/L, p=0.219) as well as no statistically significant correlation was found between age and 25(OH)D levels (p=0.349). As expected higher levels of 25(OH)D were observed in summer than in winter (68.2±21.5 vs. 42.2±16.9 nmol/L; p<0.0001). Serum 25(OH)D levels were significantly lower in obese compared to non-obese subjects (46.6±17.6 vs. 57.7±24.2 nmol/L, p=0.012). Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in this area, affecting almost half of the population. Body mass index and season are predictors for lower 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and vitamin D status. An effective strategy to prevent vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency should be envisaged and implemented in our population.