A Donegal GP has said vitamin D test results coming from Letterkenny University Lab are exceptionally low.
Dr Martin Coyne blamed severe lack of sunshine in the county for low vitamin D levels and a high number of people suffering with osteoporosis.
He told the Irish Times: "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.
Dr Coyne, who has a special interest in osteoporosis, examined the first 10,000 vitamin D test results from Letterkenny University Lab. He found 75 per cent of samples tested had insufficient vitamin D levels and 12 per cent were extremely low. This compared to a study of older adults across Ireland which showed 12.5 per cent were deficient.
Low levels of vitamin D are one of the leading causes of osteoporosis, which affects an estimated 300,000 people in Ireland. It causes bones to become weak and brittle, leading to fractures.
One in five men and one in two women over the age of 50 will develop a fracture in their lifetime due to osteoporosis.