Laboratory confirmation of the effect of occupational sun exposure on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration

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Vitamin D concentration is known to correlate with various parameters. A major source of vitamin D is synthesis in the skin; thus, the duration of sun exposure is known to correlate with serum vitamin D levels. We compared serum levels of vitamin D between 2 occupational groups in Korea: the fisherman group, the most sun-exposed, and the general occupation group, relatively less sun-exposed. This study was conducted on 140 healthy fishermen and 140 healthy residents with various occupations, all of whom resided in the southernmost region of Korea, from June to August 2016. We compared serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) in both occupation groups by gender and age and suggested vitamin D reference interval for the region. Mean serum 25(OH)D concentrations in the general occupation and fisherman group were 13.60 ± 6.43 and 23.74 ± 8.88 ng/mL, respectively. Mean serum concentration of 25(OH)D was 1.7 times higher in the fisherman group compared with the general occupation group, which was statistically significant (P < .001). Approximately 98% of subjects in the general occupation group and 78% of subjects in the fisherman group demonstrated either vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency. Calculated serum 25(OH)D reference interval for all subjects in our study was 3.8 to 44.4 ng/mL. Despite exposure to a large amount of sunlight, 78% of subjects in the fisherman group presented with either vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. By taking laboratory measurements of serum 25(OH)D concentrations in fisherman, who were expected to have the highest vitamin D concentrations in Korea, this study could be epidemiologically useful.

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