Vitamin D deficiency in Spain: a population-based cohort study

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 Mar;65(3):321-8. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2010.265. Epub 2010 Dec 22.


Background: Vitamin D deficiency is common worldwide. No homogenous reference values have yet been established and no studies of values have been conducted in Spain involving a large number of participants.

Objective: To study the population concentrations of vitamin D in a representative sample of the Spanish population.

Subjects/methods: The study involved two cohorts from Spain, the Asturias study and the Pizarra study, which are two prospective, population-based studies involving 2260 participants. In 1262 subjects (age: 20-83 years) we studied 25-hydroxyvitamin D, intact parathyroid hormone (iPTH), calcium, phosphorus and creatinine.

Results: The median population values of 25-hydroxyvitamin D and iPTH were 22.46 ng/ml and 42.29 pg/ml, respectively. The values of 25-hydroxyvitamin D were significantly higher in summer and correlated with age (β = -0.05 ± 0.01, P < 0.0001), creatinine (β = 6.42 ± 1.17, P < 0.0001) and iPTH (-0.07 ± 0.01, P < 0.0001), but not with calcium, phosphorus or sex. The increase in iPTH with age was seen whatever the values of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, and was greater in the older persons. The concentration of iPTH rose continuously with effect from 25-hydroxyvitamin D values below ≈30 ng/ml. Values above ≈35 ng/ml were associated with a significantly lower concentration of iPTH.

Conclusions: One-third (33.9%) of the Spanish population may be at risk for Vitamin D deficiency. The 25-hydroxyvitamin D values above 30 ng/ml can safely discard 'hyper PTH'. The increase in iPTH concentration is greater in older persons for similar values of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Calcium / blood
  • Cohort Studies
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Phosphorus / blood
  • Prevalence
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Factors
  • Seasons
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Vitamin D
  • Phosphorus
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D
  • Creatinine
  • Calcium