Low vitamin D levels are common among adult men in the United States and are associated with an increased likelihood of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and moderate to severe urinary incontinence (UI), national data show.

Of 2,387 men who participated in a cross-sectional survey, 89% had insufficient vitamin D levels (below 30 ng/mL) and 55% had deficient vitamin D levels (below 20 ng/mL).

After adjusting for numerous potential confounders, vitamin D deficiency was associated with a 40% increased likelihood of LUTS and an 80% increased likelihood of moderate to severe UI, investigators reported online in Urology.

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Among the 1,388 men with available data on LUTS and vitamin D measurements, 666 (48%) had at least one LUTS.

In addition, older age, lower education and income, and “poor or fair” self-reported health status were associated with an increased prevalence of LUTS. Non-Hispanic black men were significantly more likely to be vitamin D deficient than other ethnic groups, whereas non-Hispanic white men and men who identified as “other” had the lowest prevalence of LUTS among the ethnic groups.

The authors, led by Alayne D. Markland, DO, MSc, of the VA Medical Center in Birmingham, Ala., analyzed data from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Vitamin D levels must be at least 20 ng/mL or higher in order to support bone and skeletal health, according to the researchers. They concluded that their study “offers epidemiologic evidence to support continued investigation of vitamin D in LUTS, as well as an additional supportive rationale for diagnosing and treating vitamin D deficiency in adult men.”