Study of vitamin D availability in the UK
Mavroeidi A, O'Neill F, Lee PA, Darling AL, Fraser WD, Berry JL, Lee WT, Reid DM, Lanham-New SA, Macdonald HM. Seasonal 25-hydroxyvitamin D changes in British postmenopausal women at 57 degrees N and 51 degrees N: A longitudinal study. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2010 Mar 17. [Epub ahead of print]
Bone and Musculoskeletal Research Programme, University of Aberdeen, UK.
The UK has insufficient intensity of sunlight at wavelengths 290-315nm to enable cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D from October to April. There are regional differences in UVB strength throughout the UK but whether this translates to differences in vitamin D status is not known. We have reported seasonal variations in a cross-sectional study of over 3000 Scottish women in Aberdeen. The aim of this longitudinal study was to compare the seasonal variation of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] in postmenopausal women residing in Aberdeen (57 degrees N) and Surrey (51 degrees N). Women attended 3-monthly visits over 12 months, starting summer 2006.
In Aberdeen, 338 Caucasian women (mean age+/-SD, 61.7+/-1.5 years); and at Surrey, 138 Caucasian women (61.4+/-4.5 years) and 35 Asian women (59.9+/-6.4 years) had serum 25(OH)D measured by IDS enzyme immunoassay. In winter/spring none of the Caucasian women living in Surrey had 25(OH)D<20nmol/L, but nearly a quarter of women in Aberdeen were vitamin D-deficient. This number decreased to 4.2% in summer/autumn.
or the Asian women 17.1% were vitamin D-deficient in summer, increasing to 58.1% in winter. Using higher 25(OH)D deficiency cut-offs, the percentage of women affected was much higher.
These longitudinal data show clear differences in vitamin D status between the north and south of the UK, and marked ethnic differences. They are consistent with our previous data and with cross-sectional data from the 1958 birth cohort. The low vitamin D status may have implications for bone health and other health outcomes, which is currently being investigated in this publication group. The extent of vitamin D deficiency in Asian women residing in the South of England is of concern.