Vitamin D and calcium status in South African adolescents with alcohol use disorders

Naude, Celeste E. ; Carey, Paul D. ; Laubscher, Ria ; Fein, George ; Senekal, Marjanne (2012-08)

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.

The original publication is available at


Adequate vitamin D and calcium are essential for optimal adolescent skeletal development. Adolescent vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency and poor calcium intake have been reported worldwide. Heavy alcohol use impacts negatively on skeletal health, which is concerning since heavy adolescent drinking is a rising public health problem. This study aimed to examine biochemical vitamin D status and dietary intakes of calcium and vitamin D in 12–16 year-old adolescents with alcohol use disorders (AUD), but without co-morbid substance use disorders, compared to adolescents without AUD. Substance use, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (s-25(OH)D) concentrations, energy, calcium and vitamin D intakes were assessed in heavy drinkers (meeting DSM-IV criteria for AUD) (n = 81) and in light/non-drinkers without AUD (non-AUD) (n = 81), matched for age, gender, language, socio-economic status and education. Lifetime alcohol dose was orders of magnitude higher in AUD adolescents compared to non-AUD adolescents. AUD adolescents had a binge drinking pattern and "weekends-only" style of alcohol consumption. Significantly lower (p = 0.038) s-25(OH)D (adjusted for gender, smoking, vitamin D intake) were evident in AUD adolescents compared to non-AUD adolescents. High levels of vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency (s-25(OH)D < 29.9 ng/mL) were prevalent in both groups, but was significantly higher (p = 0.013) in the AUD group (90%) compared to the non-AUD group (70%). All participants were at risk of inadequate calcium and vitamin D intakes (Estimated Average Requirement cut-point method). Both groups were at risk of inadequate calcium intake and had poor biochemical vitamin D status, with binge drinking potentially increasing the risk of the latter. This may have negative implications for peak bone mass accrual and future osteoporosis risk, particularly with protracted binge drinking.

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