Vitamin D status and bone mass in UK South Asian women

Dipak K Roy, Jacqueline L Berry, Stephen R Pye, Judith E Adams, Caroline M Swarbrick, Yvonne King, Alan J Silman, Terence W O'Neill
Bone 2007, 40 (1): 200-4

INTRODUCTION: Low vitamin D status is prevalent among South Asians living in the UK. The relationship, however, between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level (25OHD), serum parathyroid level (PTH) and bone mass in this group of women is unknown. The aim of this study was to determine the association between serum PTH, 25OHD and bone mass in a population based sample of young UK South Asian women.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Names of South Asian women aged 18 to 36 years of Pakistani origin living in the Greater Manchester area were identified from primary care registers using validated computer software. Subjects were invited to attend for (i) a blood test for assessment of serum calcium (Ca), albumin, PTH and 25OHD and (ii) for bone mineral density (BMD) scanning using the following: areal BMD at the hip (femoral neck, total hip) and lumbar spine using dual X-ray absorptiometry (Hologic QDR 4500), and volumetric BMD at the distal radius using peripheral quantitative computed tomography (Norland Stratec XCT 2000). Linear regression was used to determine the association between serum 25OHD, PTH and BMD at the different sites with adjustments made for age.

RESULTS: In all, 78 women (mean age 29.2 years) were included in the analysis. Mean serum Ca level was 2.42 mmol/l, 25OHD, 7.9 ng/ml and PTH, 52.8 pg/ml. The majority of women (94%) had serum 25OHD levels <or=15 ng/ml, while 20 (26%) had evidence of marked deficiency (<or=5 ng/ml). Mean serum PTH level was similar in subjects with a serum 25OHD of 10.1-15 ng/ml and >15 ng/ml, though rose progressively in subjects with levels below 10 ng/ml. Serum 25OHD was positively associated with BMD at the hip and spine while PTH was negatively associated with BMD at the hip and spine. When categorized by serum 25OHD level there was an increase in BMD at the total hip and distal radial site at least up to levels of 15 ng/ml.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite widespread recognition, hypovitaminosis D is still prevalent among young UK South Asian women. In these women a decrease in serum 25OHD level <or=15 ng/ml is associated with a progressive reduction in bone mass at the hip and wrist.

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