Assessment of vitamin D and calcium status in healthy adult Austrians

Eur J Clin Invest. 2003 Apr;33(4):323-31. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2362.2003.01127.x.


Background: Because there is reason to assume that also in Austria calcium and vitamin D malnutrition is wide-spread, we initiated a comprehensive study on calcium and vitamin D status in relation to bone health in a large group of the normal adult population.

Subjects and methods: We assessed dietary calcium and vitamin D intake, serum concentrations of Ca2+, phosphate, alkaline phosphatase, 25(OH)D, 1,25(OH)2D, parathyroid hormone (PTH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), sex hormones and bone mineral density (BMD) by double-energy X-ray absorptiometry at five different skeletal sites in 648 females and 400 males (age 21-76 years).

Results: Mean daily intake of vitamin D (101 IU, range 0.2-320) and calcium (569 mg, range 40-2170) was significantly less than the respective recommended dietary allowances. Two hundred and seventy-one (26%) individuals had hypovitaminosis D with serum 25(OH)D < 12 ng mL(-1), while serum Ca2+ was less than normal in 82 (7.8%) subjects. Multiple regression analysis revealed significant correlations between mean calcium intake and BMD in the femoral region in the men (r = 0.13, P < 0.05) though not in the women. No consistent data could be obtained for associations between BMD and vitamin D status, except for 25(OH)D and BMD at the spine in the men (r = 0.10, P < 0.05). 25(OH)D correlated negatively (P < 0.05) with age in the women (r = -0.11) and with PTH in the women (r = -0.11) and men (r = -0.16). Inversely, a significant (P < 0.001) age-related increase in PTH was observed in both sexes (men, r = 0.19; women, r = 0.14).

Conclusions: Prevalence of hypovitaminosis D in adult Austrians is an imminent risk for development of secondary hyperparathyroidism with advancing age, and requires timely correction of nutritional deficits.

Publication types

  • Comment
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon / methods
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Austria / epidemiology
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Calcium, Dietary / blood*
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / blood
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Vitamin D / blood*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / metabolism*


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Vitamin D