Study reveals high levels of vitamin D inadequacy in UK adolescents

October 18, 2016

A study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has shown high levels of vitamin D inadequacy in UK adolescents, and - for the first time - identified the intake needed by adolescents in order to maintain adequate serum vitamin D levels during the winter time. The research was undertaken by academics from the University of Surrey's Department of Nutritional Sciences in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Copenhagen and University College Cork.

Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to vitamin D deficiency, and previous studies have shown that vitamin D levels decrease during puberty. With adolescents less likely to spend time outdoors than younger children, they experience less exposure to the sun, which is how we naturally obtain vitamin D. Low vitamin D levels are also a problem at northern latitudes during the winter months when the sun is not sufficient for us to make vitamin D within our bodies, so dietary intakes become more important.

Vitamin D optimises calcium absorption and therefore plays an essential role in bone mineralisation and skeletal development. Since most rapid bone growth occurs during the adolescent years, it is vital that teenagers have sufficient levels of vitamin D in order to achieve peak bone mass by late adolescence. This is thought to help reduce age-related bone loss in later life.

In the trial, 110 white male and female adolescents were given varying levels of vitamin D3 supplements, while some were given a placebo supplement, for a 20 week period during winter. This showed that vitamin D intakes of between 10 and ~30 ug/day are required to maintain an adequate level of vitamin D and avoid vitamin D deficiency.

The study forms part of a four-year EU-funded project, ODIN, which aims to investigate safe and effective ways of improving dietary vitamin D intakes through food fortification and bio-fortification. The key findings will be presented by lead author Dr Taryn Smith of the University of Surrey at the National Osteoporosis Society Conference, due to be held from 7 to 9 November 2016 in Birmingham.

Dr Taryn Smith commented, "The research has found that adolescence, the time when bone growth is most important in laying down the foundations for later life, is a time when vitamin D levels are inadequate. The ODIN project is investigating ways of improving vitamin D intake through the diet - and since it is difficult to obtain vitamin D intakes of over 10 ug/day from food sources alone, it is looking at ways of fortifying our food to improve the vitamin D levels of the UK population as a whole."
-end-
'Estimation of the dietary requirement for vitamin D in adolescents aged 14-18 y: a dose-response, double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial' was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition - http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2016/09/20/ajcn.116.138065.full.pdf+html

University of Surrey

Related Vitamin Articles from Brightsurf:

Vitamin C's effectiveness against COVID may hinge on vitamin's natural transporter levels
High doses of vitamin C under study for treating COVID-19 may benefit some populations, but investigators exploring its potential in aging say key factors in effectiveness include levels of the natural transporter needed to get the vitamin inside cells.

Vitamin B6, leukemia's deadly addiction
Researchers from CSHL and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have discovered how Acute Myeloid Leukemia is addicted to vitamin B6.

Fatty foods necessary for vitamin E absorption, but not right away
A fresh look at how to best determine dietary guidelines for vitamin E has produced a surprising new finding: Though the vitamin is fat soluble, you don't have to consume fat along with it for the body to absorb it.

Vitamin D: How much is too much of a good thing?
A three-year study by researchers at the Cumming School of Medicine's McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), showed there is no benefit in taking high doses of vitamin D.

10 million new cases of vitamin D deficiency will be prevented by adding vitamin D to wheat flour
Adding vitamin D to wheat flour would prevent 10 million new cases of vitamin D deficiency in England and Wales over the next 90 years, say researchers at the University of Birmingham.

Muscling in on the role of vitamin D
A recent study conducted at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research has shed light on the role of vitamin D in muscle cells.

Vitamin D may not help your heart
While previous research has suggested a link between low levels of vitamin D in the blood and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, a new Michigan State University study has found that taking vitamin D supplements did not reduce that risk.

Does sunscreen compromise vitamin D levels?
Sunscreen can reduce the sun's adverse effects, but there are concerns that it might inhibit the body's production of vitamin D.

How obesity affects vitamin D metabolism
A new Journal of Bone and Mineral Research study confirms that vitamin D supplementation is less effective in the presence of obesity, and it uncovers a biological mechanism to explain this observation.

Why vitamin E effect is often a matter of luck until now
Vitamin E's positive effects often fail to manifest themselves as strongly as expected, but sometimes administering vitamin E actually has detrimental effects.

Read More: Vitamin News and Vitamin Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.