ATLANTA, July 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Data presented this week at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) meeting showed that many people have low vitamin D levels and that testing individuals at risk may be beneficial.
According to published data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Survey, reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine, only 23 percent of Americans have vitamin D levels over 30 nanogram/millilitre (ng/mL), a level that many experts agree is needed for optimal health. Low vitamin D can cause skeletal disorders, such as rickets in children and bone loss in adults, and has been linked to an increased risk of hip fractures. Although research is still being conducted in this area, some studies have shown that people with a low level of vitamin D may have elevated risk for cardiovascular problems, autoimmune disorders and some infectious diseases.
"There are many factors that contribute to people having low vitamin D status," said Neil Binkley, M.D., associate professor of Endocrinology and Geriatrics at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. "Low dietary intake, sun avoidance, age and geographic location all play a part. It is important to measure vitamin D in some individuals who may be at risk because of all of variables that may cause low vitamin D." Binkley presented data at an Abbott-sponsored workshop at AACC.
Laboratories measure vitamin D levels through detection of 25-hydroxy vitamin D. In the kidney, 25-hydroxy vitamin D converts into the active form of the vitamin that helps regulate calcium and phosphate levels and can be measured in blood. 25-hydroxy vitamin D is established as the appropriate measurable indicator of vitamin D status because it is stable and easily measured.
Several published studies have shown low vitamin D levels are widespread but the potential health consequences are largely unrecognized. It has been reported in healthy childre