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Alaskan natives now eat far less fish and have far lower levels of vitamin D – July 2016

Declines in traditional marine food intake and vitamin D levels from the 1960s to present in young Alaska Native women

Public Health Nutrition / FirstView ArticleCopyright © The Authors 2016 http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1368980016001853, 8 pages. online: 28 July 2016
Diane M O’Briena1a2 dmobrien at alaska.edu, Kenneth E Thummela3, Lisa R Bulkowa4, Zhican Wanga3, Brittany Corbina2, Joseph Klejkaa5, Scarlett E Hopkinsa1, Bert B Boyera1, Thomas W Hennessya4 and Rosalyn Singletona4a6
a1 Center for Alaska Native Health Research, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska, PO Box 757000, Fairbanks, AK 99775–7000, USA
a2 Department of Biology and Wildlife, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK, USA
a3 School of Pharmacy, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
a4 Arctic Investigations Program, Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Anchorage, AK, USA
a5 Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation, Bethel, AK, USA
a6 Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Division of Community Health Services, Anchorage, AK, USA
triangle = upriver    circle = coastal

Objective To measure the trends in traditional marine food intake and serum vitamin D levels in Alaska Native women of childbearing age (20–29 years old) from the 1960s to the present.

Design We measured a biomarker of traditional food intake, the d15N value, and vitamin D level, as 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (25(OH)D3) concentration, in 100 serum samples from 20–29-year-old women archived in the Alaska Area Specimen Bank, selecting twenty-five per decade from the 1960s to the 1990s. We compared these with measurements of red-blood-cell d15N values and serum 25(OH)D3 concentrations from 20–29-year-old women from the same region collected during the 2000s and 2010s in a Center for Alaska Native Health Research study.

Setting The Yukon Kuskokwim Delta region of south-west Alaska.

Subjects Alaska Native women (n 319) aged 20–29 years at the time of specimen collection.
Results Intake of traditional marine foods, as measured by serum d15N values, decreased significantly each decade from the 1960s through the 1990s, then remained constant from the 1990s through the present (F5,306=77·4, P<0·0001). Serum vitamin D concentrations also decreased from the 1960s to the present (F4,162=26·1, P<0·0001).

Conclusions Consumption of traditional marine foods by young Alaska Native women dropped significantly between the 1960s and the 1990s and was associated with a significant decline in serum vitamin D concentrations. Studies are needed to evaluate the promotion of traditional marine foods and routine vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy for this population.

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See also VitaminDWiki

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