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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2002 May;56(5):431-7.

The effect of conventional vitamin D(2) supplementation on serum 25(OH)D concentration is weak among peripubertal Finnish girls: a 3-y prospective study.

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Paavo Nurmi Centre, Sport and Exercise Medicine Unit, Department of Physiology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.



To study the effect of vitamin D supplementation and the impact of summer season on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (S-25(OH)D) in Finnish 9-15-y-old girls.


Three-year follow-up study with vitamin D(2) supplementation using D(2) 10 microg daily from October to January for the first and from October to February for the second winter as well as 20 microg daily from October to March for the third winter.


Paavo Nurmi Centre, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.


A total of 171 female volunteers aged 9-15 y.


Vitamin D and calcium intakes were estimated by a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). S-25(OH)D was measured by radioimmunoassay.


The median daily dietary intakes of vitamin D and calcium were 3.8 microg (interquartile range (IQR) 2.7-5.0) and 1451 mg (IQR 1196-1812), respectively, over 3 y. The prevalence of severe hypovitaminosis D (S-25(OH)D<20 nmol/l) was 14% and of moderate hypovitaminosis D (20 nmol/l < or = S-25(OH)D < or = 37.5 nmol/l) 75% at baseline in winter. None of the participants had severe hypovitaminosis D in summer. The effect of 10 microg of D(2) daily was insufficient to raise S-25(OH)D from baseline. The daily supplementation of 20 microg of D(2) increased S-25(OH)D significantly in wintertime compared with the non-supplement users (to 45.5 vs 31.8 nmol/l; P<0.001). None of the subjects with vitamin D(2) supplementation approximately 20 microg daily had severe hypovitaminosis D; however, 38% of those participants had moderate hypovitaminosis D at 36 months. Sun exposure in summer raised mean S-25(OH)D to 62.0 nmol/l. Both the daily supplementation of approximately 20 microg of D(2) and summer sunlight exposure had more effect on those who had severe hypovitaminosis than those who had a normal vitamin D status (increase of 24.2 vs 0.9 nmol/l (P<0.001), and 38.8 vs 18.2 nmol/l (P<0.001), respectively).


Vitamin D supplementation daily with 20 microg is needed to prevent hypovitaminosis D in peripubertal Finnish girls in winter. Sunlight exposure in summer is more effective than approximately 20 microg of D(2) supplementation daily in winter to raise S-25(OH)D. Both the daily supplementation with 20 microg of D(2) and summertime sunlight exposure had more effect on those who had severe hypovitaminosis D than those who had a normal vitamin D status.


Supported by the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation and the Medical Research Foundation of the Turku University Central Hospital.

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