Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriage is associated with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels, gender and smoking status. The Tromsø Staph and Skin Study

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2012 Apr;31(4):465-73. doi: 10.1007/s10096-011-1331-x. Epub 2011 Aug 3.


Vitamin D induces the expression of antimicrobial peptides with activity against Staphylococcus aureus. Thus, we studied the association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and S. aureus nasal colonization and carriage. Nasal swabs, blood samples and clinical data from 2,115 women and 1,674 men, aged 30-87 years, were collected in the Tromsø Staph and Skin Study 2007-08, as part of the population-based sixth Tromsø Study. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were stratified by recognized risk factors for S. aureus carriage: sex, age and smoking. In non-smoking men, we observed a 6.6% and 6.7% decrease in the probability of S. aureus colonization and carriage, respectively, by each 5 nmol/l increase in serum 25(OH)D concentration (P < 0.001 and P = 0.001), and serum 25(OH)D > 59 nmol/l and ≥75 nmol/l as thresholds for ~30% and ~50% reduction in S. aureus colonization and carriage. In non-smoking men aged 44-60 years, the odds ratio for S. aureus colonization was 0.44 (95% confidence interval, 0.28-0.69) in the top tertile of serum 25(OH)D versus the bottom tertile. In women and smokers there were no such associations. Our study supports that serum vitamin D is a determinant of S. aureus colonization and carriage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carrier State / epidemiology*
  • Carrier State / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nose / microbiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification*
  • Vitamin D / blood*


  • Vitamin D