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A recent study finds a high prevalence of vitamin D sufficiency in those with rheumatic conditions

Posted on: November 14, 2017   by  Riley Peterson & John Cannell, MD.


A recent cross-sectional analysis published in the journal, Clinical Rheumatology, discovered that vitamin D sufficiency was common in a Finnish population affected by rheumatic diseases.

The researchers included a total of 3,202 adult patients seen at the rheumatology clinic at Jyväskylä Central Hospital, Finland, between January 2011 and April 2015 in this study.  Due to the fact that it is common practice for both vitamin D and calcium to be prescribed to patients who attend this clinic, researchers decided to evaluate the vitamin D levels of this specific population. All individuals were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, non-specific case arthralgia/myalgia or undifferentiated arthritis, and had available vitamin D levels.

This is what the researchers found:

  • Only 1.6% of the participants had severe vitamin D deficiency (<12 ng/ml; <25 nmol/l).
  • Approximately 18% of the participants were considered to have vitamin D deficiency (<20 ng/ml; <50 nmol/l).
  • Vitamin D sufficiency (20-30 ng/ml; 50-75 nmol/l) was found in 32.7% of the patients.
  • Almost 50% of participants were considered vitamin D optimal (>30 ng/ml: >75 nmol/l).
  • Younger age, higher BMI and lower level of physical activity was most significantly associated with vitamin D deficiency in this population (p = 0.001).
  • Approximately ⅓ of participants returned for a follow-up visit, in which researchers discovered that 64% of those with low vitamin D status improved their status to optimal levels.

The researchers concluded:

“This study provides evidence that D-25 [25(OH)D] national policies and health promotion campaigns along with local/ departmental policies for the most vulnerable population groups can be effective.”

They continued:

“We further conclude that there is value in testing D-25 levels in patients with rheumatic diseases and especially those at high risk.”


Nikiphorou, E. et al. A cross-sectional study of vitamin D levels in a large cohort of patients with rheumatic diseases. Clinical Rheumatology, 2017.

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