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Nutrients. 2013 Sep 5;5(9):3470-80. doi: 10.3390/nu5093470.

Increased plasma concentrations of vitamin D metabolites and vitamin D binding protein in women using hormonal contraceptives: a cross-sectional study.

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Department of Endocrinology and Internal Medicine, THG, Aarhus University Hospital, Tage Hansens Gade 2, DK, Aarhus 8000, Denmark.


Use of hormonal contraceptives (HC) may influence total plasma concentrations of vitamin D metabolites. A likely cause is an increased synthesis of vitamin D binding protein (VDBP). Discrepant results are reported on whether the use of HC affects free concentrations of vitamin D metabolites.


In a cross-sectional study, plasma concentrations of vitamin D metabolites, VDBP, and the calculated free vitamin D index in users and non-users of HC were compared and markers of calcium and bone metabolism investigated.


75 Caucasian women aged 25-35 years were included during winter season. Compared with non-users (n = 23), users of HC (n = 52) had significantly higher plasma concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) (median 84 interquartile range: [67-111] vs. 70 [47-83] nmol/L, p = 0.01), 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)2D) (198 [163-241] vs. 158 [123-183] pmol/L, p = 0.01) and VDBP (358 [260-432] vs. 271 [179-302] µg/mL, p < 0.001). However, the calculated free indices (FI-25OHD and FI-1,25(OH)2D) were not significantly different between groups (p > 0.10). There were no significant differences in indices of calcium homeostasis (plasma concentrations of calcium, parathyroid hormone, and calcitonin, p > 0.21) or bone metabolism (plasma bone specific alkaline phosphatase, osteocalcin, and urinary NTX/creatinine ratio) between groups.


Use of HC is associated with 13%-25% higher concentrations of total vitamin D metabolites and VDBP. This however is not reflected in indices of calcium or bone metabolism. Use of HC should be considered in the interpretation of plasma concentrations vitamin D metabolites.

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