Dr. Ebtehal Al Mogbel
National Guard Program – Riyadh 2009/2010
Background: Vitamin D plays an important role in diverse physiological functions in addition to its role in bone health. Vitamin D deficiency is very common in elderly people, but there are few reports on its prevalence in young adults.
Method: A cross-sectional study was carried out on a total of 465 young adult Saudi females aged 19 to 40 years old who were selected from primary health care centers of King Abdulaziz medical city, Riyadh, KSA. A questionnaire was used to identify socio-demographic characteristics and risk factors such as sunlight exposure and dietary intake. 25-hydroxy vitamin D
[25(OH)D], Parathyroid hormone (PTH) and bone biochemical parameter were measured. The cutoff values for Vitamin D were defined as follows: deficient (<25nmol/L), insufficient (25-75 nmol/L) and normal (≥ 75 nmol/L).
Result: Overall, hypovitaminosis D were identified in all participants, with a mean level of 18.34 ±8.2 nmol/L. Of all the participants, 79.1% exhibited severe vitamin D deficiency (serum 25(OH) D < 25 nmol/L), while 20.9% exhibited vitamin D insufficiency (serum 25(OH) D between 25-50 nmol/L). There was a significant inverse correlation between serum 25 (OH) D concentrations and PTH, where secondary hyperparathyroidism was evident in 61.4% of participants with deficient vitamin D compared to 39.2% of participants with insufficient vitamin D.
Conclusion: Despite the abundant sunlight in Saudi Arabia, the prevalence of hypovitaminosis D among young healthy Saudi females is 100%. This finding should be considered a public health problem. Case identification, health education and prevention should be encouraged.
Keywords: Vitamin D, prevalence, women, Saudi, secondary hyperparathyroidism, sunlight, dietary supplement.