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WASHINGTON — Vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency may be even more common than previously thought and a risk factor for more than just bone diseases, according to new research published Friday in the American Chemical Society journal Analytical Chemistry.
In an effort to help identify vitamin D deficiency, the authors of the report developed a Standard Reference Material called SRM 972, the first certified reference material for the determination of the metabolized vitamin D in human serum (a component of blood). According to the report, researchers attempting to determine vitamin D deficiency by measuring vitamin D itself doesn’t work because it is rapidly changed into another form in the liver. Current methods detect levels of a vitamin D metabolite called 25(OH)D. However, the test methods don’t always agree and produce different results.
The researchers developed four versions of the standard, with different levels of the vitamin D metabolites 25(OH)D2 and 25(OH)D3 in human serum. They also determined the levels of 3-epi-25(OH)D in the adult human serum samples. They found that this metabolite — previously thought to only exist in the blood of infants — was present in adult serum. “This reference material provides a mechanism to ensure measurement accuracy and comparability and represents a first step toward standardization of 25(OH)D measurements,” the researchers stated.
Between on-half and three-quarters of people in the United States may not have enough vitamin D, and low levels of vitamin D have been linked to the development of several conditions, including rickets (soft and deformed bones), osteoporosis, some cancers, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
The authors acknowledged funding from the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements.