Assessing Vitamin D Status in African Americans and the Influence of Vitamin D on Skeletal Health Parameters

Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2017 Mar;46(1):135-152. doi: 10.1016/j.ecl.2016.09.006. Epub 2016 Dec 14.


In the United States, there is a significant disparity in vitamin D status among individuals of African versus European descent. Despite having lower total 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels compared with white Americans, African Americans have higher bone mineral density and lower fracture risk. This article reviews classical and nonclassical vitamin D physiology, describes whether total versus free 25-hydroxyvitamin D is a better marker of vitamin D status in African Americans, and summarizes the influence of vitamin D status and vitamin D supplementation on markers of vitamin D bioactivity (intestinal calcium absorption, parathyroid hormone secretion, bone mineral density, fracture) in African Americans.

Keywords: 25-Hydroxyvitamin D; African American; Bone mineral density; Calcium absorption; Parathyroid hormone; Vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • African Americans*
  • Bone Density
  • Bone and Bones / physiology*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Humans
  • United States
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D / physiology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D