Determinants of Circulating 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Bone Mineral Density in Young Physicians

ArticleinEndocrine Practice 18(2):219-26 · February 2012with6 Reads
Impact Factor: 2.81 · DOI: 10.4158/EP11269.OR · Source: PubMed


    To examine determinants of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] and bone mineral density (BMD) in young physicians, a group not well studied previously.
    We analyzed data from a questionnaire completed by young physicians as well as results of serum 25(OH)D, serum parathyroid hormone, and BMD measurements.
    Among 104 study subjects, 42% were white, 46% were Asian, 12% were "other" (10 Hispanic and 2 African American subjects), and 75% were women. The mean age and body mass index (BMI) were 28.1 years and 23.0 kg/m², respectively. White subjects had a higher mean serum 25(OH)D level (27.3 ng/mL) than did Asian subjects (15.9 ng/mL) and other subjects (22.3 ng/mL) (P<.0001). White subjects tended to have higher Z-scores than Asian subjects and other subjects for the hip (P = .06), trochanter (P = .08), and lumbar spine (P = .08). The serum 25(OH)D level was negatively associated with serum parathyroid hormone (r = -0.44; P<.01) but not with BMD. The prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency [serum 25(OH)D <30 ng/mL, 77% for the entire group] was higher (P<.01) in Asian subjects (93%) than in white subjects (61%) and other subjects (73%). Significant determinants of serum 25(OH)D included age, ethnicity, exposure to sunlight, use of vitamin D supplements, and family history of osteoporosis (P<.05 for all), and together with sex, calcium supplements, exercise, and BMI, these factors explained 49% of serum 25(OH)D level variability. Significant determinants of low BMD (osteopenia plus osteoporosis, prevalence 37.5%) included sex (P = .002) and BMI (P<.0001) but not serum 25(OH)D; Asian ethnicity reached borderline significance (P = .088). Age, sex, ethnicity, smoking, and BMI explained 20% to 30% of the Z-score variations.
    In young physicians with a healthful lifestyle, determinants of low serum 25(OH)D and BMD included modifiable risk factors. Vitamin D insufficiency and low BMD could be important contributors to future osteoporotic fractures in this population.