10th February 00:05
Korean Women Suffer From Serious Vitamin D Deficiency (calcium osteoporosis)
Bae Keun-min, "Korean Women Suffer From Serious Vitamin D Deficiency",
Korea Times, April 26, 2005,
South Korean women are seriously deficient in vitamin D, making them
more likely to suffer from osteoporosis.
In a joint study with doctors in Britain, France and Hungary,
endocrinologist Lim Sung-kil at Severance Hospital said that Korean
females posted an average vitamin D level of 20.4 nanograms per
milliliter (ng/ml) in their blood, the lowest among the 18 nations
An optimum vitamin D level is known to be 30 ng/ml for women. Some 88.2
percent of the Koreans in the survey failed to reach the optimum level,
the study said.
The study was conducted on 1,285 female osteoporosis patients aged 55
years and older in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
``Despite the fact that the survey was conducted between May and
October in 2004, when there is more sunshine with a relatively longer
daytime, Korean women showed the lowest figures,'' Lim said. ``The
results show that South Korean women avoid sunlight too much to keep
their skin fair.''
Lim said it is possible to absorb vitamin D through food. However,
sunbathing is the best way to supplement vitamin D in the body, he
UV rays in sunlight trigger synthesis of vitamin D in the skin. Food
such as liver, mackerel, tuna and egg yolks contains relatively large
amounts of vitamin D.
Vitamin D maintains normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus, by
promoting calcium absorption. Vitamin D helps to form and maintain
strong bones as it plays a significant role in regulating cell growth
Of the surveyed 18 nations, women in only seven nations presented the
vitamin D level in the blood higher than the suggested optimum level,
such as Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Hungary, Thailand,
Malaysia and Brazil.
Sweden marked the highest level of 35.1 ng/ml, followed by the
Netherlands (32.6 ng/ml) and Switzerland (33.4 ng/ml).
Hungarian women in the survey had an average of 32.2 ng/ml of vitamin D
in their blood, while those in Thailand and Malaysia had 32.7 ng/ml and
31.7 ng/ml, respectively. Brazilians had vitamin D levels of 36.7 ng/ml
and Japanese had 22 ng/ml.
Latin America had the highest vitamin D level of 30.7 ng/ml, followed
by Europe with 30.6 ng/ml. Asia and the Middle East trailed with levels
of 26.6 ng/ml and 20.5 ng/ml, respectively.