Author(s): Cashman KD, Muldowney S, McNulty B, Nugent A, FitzGerald AP,
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Abstract Previous national nutrition surveys in Irish adults did not include blood samples; thus, representative serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) data are lacking. In the present study, we characterised serum 25(OH)D concentrations in Irish adults from the recent National Adult Nutrition Survey, and determined the impact of vitamin D supplement use and season on serum 25(OH)D concentrations. Of the total representative sample (n 1500, aged 18+ years), blood samples were available for 1132 adults. Serum 25(OH)D was measured via immunoassay. Vitamin D-containing supplement use was assessed by questionnaire and food diary. Concentrations of serum 25(OH)D were compared by season and in supplement users and non-users. Year-round prevalence rates for serum 25(OH)D concentration < 30, < 40, < 50 and < 75 nmol/l were 6.7, 21.9, 40.1 and 75.6 \%, respectively (11.1, 31.1, 55.0 and 84.0 \% in winter, respectively). Supplement users had significantly higher serum 25(OH)D concentrations compared to non-users. However, 7.5 \% of users had winter serum 25(OH)D < 30 nmol/l. Only 1.3 \% had serum 25(OH)D concentrations >125 nmol/l. These first nationally representative serum 25(OH)D data for Irish adults show that while only 6.7 \% had serum 25(OH)D < 30 nmol/l (vitamin D deficiency) throughout the year, 40.1 \% had levels considered by the Institute of Medicine as being inadequate for bone health. These prevalence estimates were much higher during winter time. While vitamin D supplement use has benefits in terms of vitamin D status, at present rates of usage (17.5 \% of Irish adults), it will have only very limited impact at a population level. Food-based strategies, including fortified foods, need to be explored.
This article was published in Br J Nutr
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research