Investigations in endocrinology

Investigating vitamin D deficiency

Yogeswari Venugopal, Bernard Champion



This section uses case scenarios to educate doctors on the best approach to the diagnosis and management of patients with different endocrine problems. The appropriate selection of tests and correct interpretation of test results are discussed.

Article Extract

Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium metabolism, bone mineralisation and muscle strength.1 Over 90% of vitamin D is synthesised in the skin upon exposure to ultraviolet B radiation from sunlight, and the rest is obtained from the diet. Dietary sources of vitamin D include oily fish, liver, egg yolks, fortified margarine and fortified breakfast cereals. However, with the exception of fatty fish such as North Sea salmon, herring or mackerel, the vitamin D content of unfortified food is relatively low.2 Risk factors for vitamin D deficiency are listed in the Box.