People in Donegal have a vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sunshine, study finds

People in Donegal have a vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sunshine, study finds

The north west isn't best.


People in Donegal are lacking in vitamin D because they are not getting enough sunshine, a recent study has shown.


Donegal GP Martin Coyne examined 10,000 vitamin D test results from Letterkenny University Lab and found that 75% of people had insufficient levels of the vitamin.


The number of people with a deficiency is so high, scientists initially thought there was a problem with their testing equipment.


A further 12% of samples were extremely low. This compares to a recent study of older adults across Ireland which found that just 12.5% of the population were deficient in vitamin D.

“We’re located further north in Donegal, so we see less sunshine here. In the winter, even if it was cloudless and you lay out naked in the sun, you wouldn’t get enough vitamin D,” he said.

When it comes to prevention, the Irish Osteoporosis Society recommends 15 minutes per day of sun exposure without sunscreen. Aside from this, a variety of other treatments are available which include Calcium and Vitamin D supplements, Estrogen/Hormone Therapy, Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators and more.


In a previous interview with Highland Radio, Dr Coyne spoke about the dangers associated with a lack of vitamin D.


"Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin and we just don't get enough sunshine. The levels of Vitamin D that we see coming out of Letterkenny Lab can be quite low and frightening. If you don't have adequate vitamin D in your system, you can metabolise calcium properly. People who are at risk with low bone density, orosteoporosis when they get older, we would suggest calcium and vitamin D together. Calcium alone - usually in the Donegal area - just isn't going to cut it."


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