One in eight urbanites lacks 'sunshine vitamin'
One in eight people in the greater Dublin area is deficient in vitamin D, which is essential for strong bones and also linked to other conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
There is a disparity between some areas, though, with the level of deficiency five times higher in the most socially deprived and ethnically diverse areas. Dublin 8 and Lucan were two areas highlighted in the study.
The research, carried out by Trinity College and St James's Hospital, said a lack of the vitamin, made by our body under the skin in reaction to sunlight, will increase during the winter.
"Other studies have shown an association between social deprivation and lower vitamin D, possibly due to diet as vitamin D-rich foods such as oily fish or fortified foods tend to be more expensive," lead author Dr Martin Healy of Trinity College said.
"Also, these locations in Dublin are more ethnically diverse compared to other areas, with higher numbers of non-caucasians. Increased skin pigmentation, plus ethnic lifestyle choices such as traditional clothing and dietary habits can also increase the risk of deficiency."
Females had significantly higher levels of vitamin D levels than males - around 25pc more on average.
During the summer, people in the leafier suburbs of Dublin 16 recorded a deficiency rate of just 5pc. It was also low in Kildare over the winter at 7.6pc.
The lack of vitamin D was as much as 25pc below what it should be in people from deprived areas. Good sources of vitamin D are egg yolks, salmon, red meat, liver and breakfast cereals.