Regence takes action to prevent gap in health care coverage

January 16, 2016

Actual vitamin D data from the samples was compared to surrogate markers for vitamin D status -- latitude of residence, annual sunlight at particular latitudes, and how much vitamin D participants consumed from foods and supplements.

Even after considering latitude, season of the year when blood samples were taken, regional sunlight exposure, age, race-ethnicity and other lifestyle factors such as waist circumference and physical activity, there still were differences in serum vitamin D levels between people that could not be explained, results showed.

"We learned that using this data still doesn't allow us to very accurately predict an individual's blood vitamin D status," says Millen.

"However, our study did not have very detailed data on individual sun exposure, so if we had had that information, perhaps we might have been able to more accurately predict an individual's vitamin D blood levels. We assume, though, based on other studies similar to ours, that even with measures of sun exposure, a predictive model still wouldn't be very valid."

Millen's advice? "When evaluating the information you hear in the news, be aware that relationships between location of residence and a disease outcome, or even studies that looked at just vitamin D intake from foods and supplements (without consideration of sunlight exposure) may not accurately tell you about the true relationship between cancer and vitamin D."

Source: University at Buffalo