A recent study published by the journal Nutrients found that low vitamin D levels were associated with a decreased self-assessed health related quality of life among male high-tech employees.
Vitamin D deficiency remains highly prevalent in today’s society, reaching individuals of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and genders across the globe. In an otherwise healthy population, vitamin D deficiency can most commonly be attributed to the indoor lifestyle and sun avoidance behaviors commonly practiced in today’s society.
Low vitamin D status is often considered a silent deficiency, as many individuals experience no overt symptoms. However, those who are deficient may experience joint or muscle pain, fatigue or a general sense of malaise. All of these symptoms are likely to affect an individual’s overall quality of life.
This topic has been evaluated in a variety of target populations, including the elderly, those with chronic conditions and in postmenopausal women. However, to date, no studies have looked at vitamin D and quality of life indicators in healthy middle aged men.
Since those employed in the high-tech industry are likely to work indoors throughout the day and frequently miss the opportunity to receive noon-time sun exposure, researchers recently aimed to determine if vitamin D status may contribute to the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of men in this profession.
A total of 354 male high-tech employees between the ages of 25-65 years who received their annual examination at the Rambam Health Care Campus clinic in Haifa, Israel were recruited for the study. Those who suffered from any severe chronic conditions, received abnormal results from their blood panel or were non-compliant were excluded from the study. The researchers evaluated the participants serum 25(OH)D levels, gathered anthropometric data and provided questionnaires regarding the participant’s personal and occupational lifestyle and medical information, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) health-related quality of life questionnaire (HRQOL-4).
Here is what the researchers found:
- The participants’ mean serum 25(OH)D level was 22.1 +0 ng/ml.
- A total of 93% of the participants reported good, very good or excellent health status with 66% reporting no physically unhealthy days, 69.7% expressed no mentally unhealthy days and 84.3% stating that they never experienced activity limitations.
- Of the 354 participants, 58% had 25(OH)D levels of at least 20 ng/ml, 31% had levels between 13-19 ng/ml and 11% had levels < 12 ng/ml.
- After adjusting for several confounders, vitamin D status was independently associated with self-rated health (p = 0.026).
- For every 1 ng/ml increase in 25(OH)D status, there was a 9% reduced odds of reporting a fair or poor self-rated health (p = 0.004) and a 4% decreased rate of reporting physically unhealthy days (p < 0.001).
The researchers concluded,
“In this study of 354 healthy high-tech employees at high risk of vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency we showed an association between health-related quality of life and vitamin D status.”
The results of this study showcase the necessity of increasing vitamin D education in the corporate world, one of the many target populations the Vitamin D Council is hoping to reach and inspire. However, there are a few limitations of this study to address. Due to the homogeneity of the study and the fact that healthy adult males have been shown to have an improved quality of life compared to the general population, the results cannot be generalized across all adult populations. The study is also limited by its observational design; therefore, the researchers expressed the need for intervention studies in order to determine if vitamin D supplementation may improve quality of life indicators in a healthy adult population.
Sturges, M. & Cannell, JJ. Vitamin D status linked to quality of life among healthy high-tech male employees. The Vitamin D Council Blog & Newsletter, 2016.