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J Hum Nutr Diet. 2013 Jul;26 Suppl 1:64-72. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12061. Epub 2013 Apr 19.

Vitamin D intake and dietary sources in a representative sample of Spanish adults.

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  • 1Departamento de Nutrición, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.



Vitamin D plays an essential role in bone mineralisation and its deficiency is associated with several chronic diseases. Some studies have reported a deficient status of vitamin D in Spanish and European population. The present study aimed to assess vitamin D intake, dietary sources of this nutrient and its adequacy with respect to the dietary reference intakes (DRI) in a representative sample of Spanish adults.


Four hundred and eighteen adults (aged 18-60 years) from 15 Spanish provinces were studied. They constituted a representative sample of the Spanish adult population. Energy and nutrient intake were determined using a 24-h dietary recall questionnaire for two consecutive days. Vitamin D intake was compared with the DRI for this vitamin.


Mean (SD) vitamin D intake was 3.5 (4.0) μg day(-1) (69.5% of the DRI). Of the participants studied, 81.6% had vitamin D intakes below the DRI and 68.7% had intakes below 67% of the DRI. Of the vitamin D, 91.4% came from food sources and 8.6% came from dietary supplements. The main food sources of vitamin D were fish, eggs, dairy products, cereals, oils and meat. In addition, those subjects who met the DRI for vitamin D had a higher consumption of fish, vegetables and fruits and a lower consumption of meats than those subjects who did not meet the DRI.


Vitamin D intake was inadequate in the sample of the adult Spanish population. Therefore, an increase in the consumption of oily fish, as well as fortified dairy products and cereals, might help to improve vitamin D intake.

© 2013 The Authors Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics © 2013 The British Dietetic Association Ltd.

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