A new study by researchers from Trinity College and St James's Hospital has reported on the first time that vitamin D can be measured in human hair. The paper has published in the international magazine of human nutrition, peer reviewed, Nutrients.
Vitamin D deficiency has reached epidemic proportions worldwide, with an estimated over 1 billion people being affected. A deficiency has been linked to bone health, but it could also be a risk factor for depression, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, diabetes and cancer. At present, the best way to assess vitamin D is to measure the concentration of vitamin D in the blood. However, this can be painful, specialty and training are needed together with conditions / hygiene equipment so a sample is not always practical. In addition, the blood result represents a vitamin D status at one point, which is a problem because vitamin D is changing with seasons: it is not unusual for someone to be sufficient in vitamin D during the summer, and is very flawed in winter. This means that one insight of vitamin D status can not provide information on vitamin D in the year.
The current study is the first in the world to announce that it is possible to extract and measure vitamin D in human hair. This is an important step forward in assessing the status of vitamin D, which may be one of the main innovations in Vitamin D measure. Traditional blood analysis holds only a little time; In contrast, hair, which grows about 1cm per month, could reflect the vitamin D status over several months and hold the large seasonal differences in vitamin D.
The main author of the study, Associate Professor in Epidemiology, Trinity College College, Lina Zgaga said:
"This study presents the first step towards developing a novel test for the assessment of vitamin D status over time. The idea is that vitamin D is permanently deposited in the hair as it grows, more may be deposited at times when concentrating on vitamin D is a high blood, and less when low. Therefore, a test based on the hair sample could be Give a measure of vitamin D status over a period of time – if hair is long enough, this could be just over a few years!
"Further research is needed to establish the exact relationship between concentrating on vitamin D in the blood and hair over time. We also need to investigate different factors that may affect the levels of vitamin D in hair, the most prominent in hair and thickness, or use hair products such as hair color. "
Nutrition Research Fellow, Trinity College College and co-author Dr Eamon Laird added:
"Other applications may also include historical samples of archaeological sites Hair (along with teeth) are some of the biological materials that continue to survive after a death and therefore it could be possible to assess the status of vitamin D populations Historically for the first time – Elizabethan, Viking, Celtic, Roman, Ancient Chinese, Egypt. Similarly, hair samples could also be used to assess the status of long-term vitamin D in animals with farming applications. Vitamin D status of ancient species could be measured Given the good preservation and copious amounts of, for example, mammoth or ancient ice animal hair that are often detected by the heat-freezing byma-frost and museum specimens. "
The Chief Biochemist of the Biochemistry Department at St James's Hospital and co-author Dr Martin Healy said:
"Vitamin D presence in hair could be interpreted in hair as a personal record of a person's vitamin D status. Information on long-term vitamin D status by analyzing hair samples may allow better strategies to maintain a stable and adequate Vitamin D over an extended period."
"The perception that vitamin D can be measured in hair samples can be able to open a new approach to epidemiological studies related to vitamins and bones that are not associated with non-bone medical & # 39; to lack. "
Materials provided by Trinity College of Trinity College. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.