The researchers from the EU-backed project, along with multinational DSM, tested the method with 1465 participants from seven EU countries.
While not quite at the “gold standard” of liquid chromatography-MS/MS in plasma for all parameters, they said the unsupervised sampling method from the finger tip was a robust and efficient way to collect status data.
The study was the largest ever to use home-collected dried blood spots. The participants were given written and video instruction and the vast majority of blood spots were of very good quality.
"This encourages application in future studies, and has the potential for simultaneous determination of other micronutrients from the same DBS samples," they wrote in the British Journal of Nutrition.
The internet-based study looked at samples from German, Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland and Greece. The most significant difference between winter and summer levels was in Germany and the smallest in Poland.
"As expected, the results for all countries showed a strong seasonality with lowest mean vitamin D3 status levels observed towards the end of January and highest mean status levels observed towards the end of July. Although representative data for vitamin D status is available in some European countries, data on seasonality are more limited."
Although the participants may not be representative of each country, they said the results could be comparable with past published data.
The researchers would be carrying out an in-depth analysis of differences between countries separately.
The research was conducted by DSM, the University College Dublin in Ireland, Technische Universität München in Germany, University of Reading in the UK, National Food & Nutrition Institute in Poland, Harokopio University in Greece, Newcastle University in the UK, Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands and the University of Navarra and Instituto de Salud Carlos III in Spain.
The Food4me project is a four-year EU-funded research consortium focused on personalised nutrition – or nutrigenomics.
Source: British Journal of Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0007114515004298
“Application of dried blood spots to determine vitamin D status in a large nutritional study with unsupervised sampling: the Food4Me project”
Authors: U. Hoeller et al