Health Professionals

Vitamin D deficiency has significant implications for human health throughout life and impacts on healthy growth and development and successful ageing. However, there are still fundamental knowledge gaps that are hindering the development of public health strategies to prevent vitamin D deficiency.

 

Vitamin D status

ODIN has published the first internationally comparable data on vitamin D status across the lifecycle in 11 European countries. This new ODIN data has established that the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is 13%, that is one in eight Europeans. This is a key starting point in tackling vitamin D deficiency in Europe. To read the full, freely available publication, a summary of these new findings or to view our new European vitamin D deficiency interactive map, click on the links on the left hand side of this page.

 

Vitamin D requirements

We are carrying out a series of randomised controlled trials in pregnant women, children, teenagers and adults of South Asian and East African origin resident in Northern European countries that have been specifically designed to provide the evidence to accurately set dietary reference values for vitamin D for these groups. This new information will be a crucial first step in developing strategies to prevent vitamin D deficiency in these neglected groups. Some of this new data is now available and ODIN has recently published the randomised controlled trial data on vitamin D requirements in 4-8 year old children and in 14-18 year old adolescents. Click on the links on the left hand side of this page to access these publications.

 

What about exposure?

In ODIN, we have estimated UVB sunlight availability across Europe throughout the seasons, which may help to explain differences in prevalence of vitamin D deficiency across European countries and areas. To read about this new research, click on the links on the left hand side of this page to freely access the full publication and for a summary of the findings. We have also developed a vitamin D winter map which will be available on the ODIN website soon. The work also includes a controlled human study that will provide the evidence needed to test whether recommendations in relation to public health appropriate levels of sun exposure (e.g., exposure of face, hands and some of the arms to ~15-25 minutes summer sun exposure at noon) are sufficient to enable adequate skin synthesis of vitamin D.

 

Health outcomes in relation to vitamin D

In ODIN, we are using rigorous scientific methods to investigate associations between vitamin D status and heath in pregnancy and early life and in allergy and bone growth in children. In addition, we are using clinically validated, disease-specific data to explore associations between vitamin D status and cardiovascular disease and other health outcomes in older adults. ODIN has recently published new data showing that high vitamin D status is associated with lower risk of pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia and small-for-gestionational-age (SGA) birth, to access the full publication click on the associated link on the left hand side of this page.

 

Food-based strategies

We are working with the food industry, in ODIN, to explore new technologies and develop a range of vitamin D-enhanced foods. To read more about these new ODIN data on vitamin D-enriched cheese, eggs, mushrooms and bread, click on the associated links on the left hand side of this page. ODIN scientists are using the composition data of these new foods and dietary survey data in a range of European countries to conduct dietary modelling studies that will account for sun exposure levels and diet, to investigate the ability of these new food-based strategies to reduce vitamin D deficiency across Europe.

 

This food-based approach will offer a safe, effective and sustainable solution to tackling vitamin D deficiency and improving vitamin D related health outcomes across all life-stages, ethnic and gender subgroups in Europe.

NEWSLETTER