Public Release: 

Studies presented at IOF regional meeting find dramatically low levels of vitamin D

New research related to vitamin D and musculoskeletal health was presented at the IOF Regionals 3rd Middle East & Africa Osteoporosis Meeting -- low levels of vitamin D were found in different population groups in the Middle East

International Osteoporosis Foundation

Nyon, Switzerland - December 7, 2015

Vitamin D is mainly produced in the skin after exposure to sunlight, with additional small quantities derived from food sources. Among other benefits, vitamin D is essential for bone health as it plays an important role in assisting calcium absorption and has other key functions in relation to bone and muscle function.

Given its importance to musculoskeletal health, vitamin D was a key focus of the 3rd Middle East and Africa Osteoporosis Meeting, organized by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) in Abu Dhabi from December 5-7, 2015. A total of eleven research studies related to vitamin D and musculoskeletal health were presented at the Meeting.

In a study carried out by researchers at the Emirates Hospital in Dubai the vitamin D status of 7924 patients was assessed. The overall mean level of serum vitamin D was found to be 20 ng/ml, with deficiency found among all age groups, in both sexes, and in both local and non-local population groups. More than ninety-five per cent were found to be vitamin D deficient/insufficient, and only 2.1% had sufficient serum vitamin D levels. The study authors called on healthcare providers to consider public health measures to address the 'alarming levels' of vitamin D insufficiency in the UAE. (OC5)

Researchers from Tunisia evaluated the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in a sample of the Tunisian population and assessed its impact on bone mass. Involving 389 subjects (261 women and 129 men aged between 20-60 years), the study revealed that, among other findings, the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was 47.6% and statistically higher in postmenopausal women. The authors urge appropriate measures such as food fortification with vitamin D, and supplementation in patients at risk. (P121)

A Palestinian study of serum vitamin D and bone turnover markers in 380 postmenopausal women with and without osteoporosis found severe vitamin D deficiency in 15.4%, insufficiency in 70.1% and sufficiency in only 14% of the women studied. (P131)

A Saudi study looked at the significance of vitamin D deficiency in the incidence of bone fractures in 1256 Saudi Arabian boys and girls at average age of 14 and 13, respectively. It was found that vitamin D levels were significantly lower in children with a history of bone fractures than in the children who had not sustained a fracture. (OC4)

A further study from Saudi Arabia which looked specifically at the vitamin D status of children and adolescents with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) found that low serum vitamin D levels are common and associated with low BMD at the spine. (P139)

Additional vitamin D-related research presented at the Meeting by researchers from Pakistan, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina also found vitamin D deficiency in the subjects studied.

Overall, the research presented at the Abu Dhabi Meeting confirm the findings of previous studies which have shown that, despite the region's sunny climate, vitamin D insufficiency is highly prevalent in the Middle East.

All research abstracts presented at the 3rd Middle East and Africa Osteoporosis Meeting will appear in the journal Osteoporosis International Vol. 26, Suppl. 2. 2015.


IOF Regionals 3rd Middle East & Africa Osteoporosis Meeting:

Organized by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) in Abu Dhabi from December 5-7, 2015, the IOF Regionals is one of the largest medical and research events dedicated to osteoporosis and related diseases in the region.

About IOF:

The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) is a not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization dedicated to the worldwide fight against osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal diseases. IOF's members - scientific researchers, patient, medical and research societies and industry representatives from around the world - share a common vision of a world without osteoporotic fractures. IOF, with headquarters in Switzerland, currently includes 232 member societies in 98 countries, regions and territories. Among its numerous programmes and activities, IOF mobilizes the global osteoporosis movement on World Osteoporosis Day, marked on October 20 every year.;;

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