Background: The effects of subclinical vitamin D deficiency on bone mineral density (BMD) and bone turnover in adolescents, especially in boys, are unclear.
Objective: We aimed to investigate the relations of different stages of vitamin D status and BMD and bone turnover in a representative sample of adolescent boys and girls.
Design: BMD was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry at the nondominant forearm and dominant heel in a random sample of 12- (n = 260) and 15-y-old (n = 239) boys and 12- (n = 266) and 15-y-old (n = 250) girls. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, parathyroid hormone, osteocalcin, and type I collagen cross-linked C-telopeptide were assessed by using enzyme-linked immunoassays. Relations between vitamin D status and bone health indexes were assessed by using regression modeling.
Results: Using multivariate regression to adjust for potential physical, lifestyle, and dietary confounding factors, we observed that 12- and 15-y-old girls with high vitamin D status (>/=74.1 nmol/L) had significantly greater forearm (but not heel) BMD (beta = 0.018; SE = 0.008; P < 0.05 for each age group) and lower serum parathyroid hormone concentrations and bone turnover markers than did those with low vitamin D status. These associations were evident in subjects sampled throughout the year and in winter only. There was no significant relation between vitamin D status and BMD in boys.
Conclusions: Maintaining serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations above approximately 50 nmol/L throughout the year may be a cost-effective means of improving bone health. Increased emphasis on exploring strategies for improving vitamin D status in adolescents is needed.