Vitamin D Deficiency and Seasonal Variation in an Adult South Florida Population

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Hypovitaminosis D is associated with impaired neuromuscular function, bone loss, and fractures. If a person is not taking a vitamin supplement, sun exposure is often the greatest source of vitamin D. Thus, vitamin D deficiency is not uncommon in the winter, particularly in northern latitudes. Our goal was to establish the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in south Florida (U.S.), a region of year-round sunny weather. At the end of the winter, 212 men and women attending an internal medicine clinic at a local county hospital were enrolled for measurements of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, and PTH; 99 participants returned at the end of summer. The mean (±sd) winter 25(OH)D concentration was 24.9 ± 8.7 ng/ml (62.3 ± 21.8 nmol/liter) in men and 22.4 ± 8.2 ng/ml (56.0 ± 20.5 nmol/liter) in women. In winter, the prevalence of hypovitaminosis D, defined as 25(OH)D less than 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/liter), was 38% and 40% in men and women, respectively. In the 99 subjects who returned for the end of summer visit, the mean 25(OH)D concentration was 31.0 ± 11.0 ng/ml (77.5 ± 27.5 nmol/liter) in men and 25.0 ± 9.4 ng/ml (62.5 ± 23.5 nmol/liter) in women. Seasonal variation represented a 14% summer increase in 25(OH)D concentrations in men and a 13% increase in women, both of which were statistically significant. The prevalence of hypovitaminosis D is considerable even in southern latitudes and should be taken into account in the evaluation of postmenopausal and male osteoporosis.

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