A major new research programme is to investigate the vitamin D levels and bone health of Irish people.
A team from the Mercer Institute for Successful Ageing (MISA) at St James's Hospital and Trinity College Dublin (TCD) will analyse around 10,000 blood samples from people of all ages, in order to better understand the vitamin D levels of the Irish population.
The results will be released later this year in a bid to raise awareness of the importance of vitamin D to bone health.
Vitamin D is known to have a key role in bone health. The main source of it is ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation from the sun - this is why it is known as the ‘sunshine vitamin'. However this can be affected by factors such as cloud cover and seasons.
In Ireland, it is generally accepted that there are not enough hours of sunlight for people to get adequate vitamin D. However, they can also consume food and drinks that are good sources of the vitamin, such as mackerel and fortified milk.
"The study will focus on identifying the factors that contribute to the very low vitamin D levels that we see in a significant number of patients of all ages," explained Helena Scully, a bone research fellow at MISA.
Meanwhile, according to Prof. J. Bernard Walsh, of TCD and the Bone Health and Osteoporosis Unit at MISA, the researchers are looking forward to sharing the results of their findings ‘in due course'.
MISA has partnered with Avonmore Super Milk on this investigation.
Pictured at the launch of the new research programme were (l-r) - Eoin Doyle, head of marketing at Glanbia, Dr Eamonn Laird of the Mercer's Institute, St James's Hospital and TCD, Dr Kevin McCarroll of the Mercer's Institute, St James's Hospital and TCD, Helena Scully, of the Mercer's Institute, St James's Hospital and TCD, Prof J. Bernard Walsh, of TCD and the Bone Health and Osteoporosis Unit at MISA, and Dr Martin Healy of St James's Hospital.
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