VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY STATUS, MEASUREMENT AND ITS TREATMENT IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Afrozul Haq* PhD, Nighat Y. Sofi MSc and Shereen Atef MD
Objectives: The present study will begin with a brief recap of the physiological roles of vitamin D, and the issue of defining vitamin D status in the United Arab Emirates. Deficiency of vitamin D has already been known a problem all over the world. Hypovitaminosis D is a widespread disorder across all age groups in the United Arab Emirates, particularly in teenagers. The high prevalence of hypovitaminosis D exists in a number of middle eastern countries despite having sufficient sunlight all round the year for vitamin D synthesis. Methods: The Roche Cobas electrochemiluminescence (ECL) competitive protein binding assay was used for total 25 hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] is useful and comparable with the High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy (LCMS/MS) techniques which are known as gold standard in detecting vitamin D deficiency, insufficiency and sufficiency. Results: In a retrospective study carried out in more than 60,000 patients of 136 nationalities we showed that 82.5% of patients have vitamin D deficiency especially the teenagers (13–19 years) with the lowest levels of serum 25(OH)D. That is the reason to pay more attention to this group of patients and focus on level of vitamin D of juveniles till 18 years old (included). 59.2% of females and 44.5% of males from 1-18 years of age were found deficient of serum 25(OH)D (≤30 nmol/L). According to the coefficient of variation females have significantly higher variability among juveniles (63.82%) than males (49.97%). 58.2% of United Arab Emirates (UAE) nationals were vitamin D deficient in comparison with patients of other nationalities (45%). Among the juveniles group of patients age seems to be an important factor as the percentage of deficiency of serum 25(OH)D is increasing with age till they are 15 years old, for instance, 9.5% of patients in age between 1-3 years have a deficiency of vitamin D, then 56.4% of kids between 7-9 years and 79.9% of teenagers between 13-15 years. In all analysed age groups females were found with lower levels of 25(OH)D than males. The need for nutritional public health-awareness campaigns about the importance of vitamin D is pressing, specifically in the UAE and other middle eastern countries where the prevalence of hypovitaminosis D is very high. Conclusion: We need to have global recognition to improve the overall health and well-being of children and adults as it relates to their vitamin D status. Recommendations for vitamin D fortification programs and sensible sun exposure should be embraced by Governmental agencies, health care providers and regulators.
Keywords: Vitamin D deficiency, 25(OH)D, measurement, electrochemiluminescence, treatment, toxicity, United Arab Emirates.
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