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Air pollution and vitamin D deficiency.

In a cross-sectional study of postmenopausal women (mean age, 65 years) living in Belgium, urban residents were exposed to ozone levels three times higher than were rural residents. Compared with rural residents, urban residents had a higher prevalence of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels > 75 nmol/L (84% vs. 38%), even though the urban residents had a significantly higher mean sun exposure index (113 vs. 87; p < 0.001). After adjusting for sun exposure index, the mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level was more than twice as high in rural residents as in urban residents. Femoral neck T-scores correlated positively with 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels.


Comment: This study suggests that ozone or some other component of polluted urban air filters ultraviolet rays and thereby decreases the synthesis of vitamin D in the skin. Previous studies have also found that residents of areas with a high degree of air pollution have lower vitamin D status, when compared with residents of less polluted areas. The association between 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and bone mineral density of the femoral neck observed in the new study suggest that air pollution may promote the development of osteoporosis.

Manicourt DH, Devogelaer JP. Urban tropospheric ozone increases the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among Belgian postmenopausal women with outdoor activities during summer. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008;93:3893-3899.

by Alan R. Gaby, MD
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Title Annotation:Literature Review & Commentary
Author:Gaby, Alan R.
Publication:Townsend Letter
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2009
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