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The majority of orthopedic patients in Germany have an insufficient vitamin D supply

Published on

12 June 2013

According to a new study from Germany, the extent of insufficient and deficient blood vitamin D levels in orthopedic patients is alarmingly high.

In the observational study, blood vitamin D concentrations of 1119 patients admitted to an orthopedic surgery department were measured (1). The study results showed that 84% of the patients had insufficient levels of vitamin D (20–30 ng/mL) and 60% were vitamin D deficient (below 20 ng/mL). Only 15% were in the target range of 30 to 60 ng/mL. The prevalence of low vitamin D levels was greater during winter and months with fewer sunshine hours. Vitamin D levels did not vary according to age, sex or disease. Indivi-duals with obesityhypertension and osteoporosis were more likely to have low vitamin D levels compared with their healthy counterparts.

The researchers commented that, given the well-known effects on bone metabolism and muscle health, low vitamin D levels may negatively affect patients. Screening and treating hypovitaminosis D appears to be important in this patient population. Data on vitamin D status among the general German population have revealed low vitamin D levels (2). In a study of 14,000 individuals aged between one and 79 years, 62% of adolescent boys, 64% of adolescent girls, 57% of men, and 58% of women had vitamin D levels less than
20 ng/mL (3). A study with 1,578 patients in an elderly care rehabilitation facility in Germany showed severe vitamin D deficiency with values less than 10 ng/mL in 68% of the patients (4). Only 4% of the patients had levels in the target range of 30 to 60 ng/mL.


  1. Maier G. S. et al. Is There an Epidemic Vitamin D Deficiency in German Orthopaedic Patients? Clin Orthop Relat Res. Published online May 2013.
  2. Ringe J. D. and Kipshoven C. Vitamin D-insufficiency: an estimate of the situation in Germany. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012; 4:72–80.
  3. Hintzpeter B. et al. Vitamin D status and health correlates among German adults. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2008; 62:1079–1089.
  4. Schilling S. Epidemic vitamin D deficiency among patients in an elderly care rehabilitation facility. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2012; 109:33–38.

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