Why Is Vitamin D3 Deficiency So Prevalent In The Sunny Middle East? The Case Of Moroccan Women

A study published by the American Journal of Integrative Research and Applied Sciences found a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among Moroccan women.

Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent throught the world. In addition, due to the silent nature of vitamin D deficiency symptoms, this issue frequently goes unnoticed. For example, individuals often blame signs of low vitamin D status on a busy lifestyle, complaining of general aches and pains, fatigue and frequent infections.

As researchers from all over the world are becoming educated on the health implications of vitamin D deficiency, several studies have begun evaluating the prevalence of deficiency in their local region.

Basma Nejjar, a joint Ph.D. student from the Faculty of medicine in Liege, Belgium and Faculty of Sciences in Kenitra, Morocco conducted her thesis on vitamin D status among Moroccan women. Nejjar and her team observed vitamin D levels of 1,247 women from Menko, Morocco who had their vitamin D levels measured between January of 2013 and December of 2015.

The researchers found that a total of 70.1% of women had vitamin D levels below 20 ng/ml. Additionally, about 52.8% of general practitioners and 32.8% of rheumatologists ordered the vitamin D tests during the winter months. As expected, season was a significant contributor to vitamin D status (p < 0.01).

The researchers concluded,

“…Hypovitaminosis D represents a public health problem and the doctors must be sensitized to this subject.”

Now that the days are becoming shorter as the seasons change, many regions further away from the equator are entering a ‘vitamin D winter’. This means that if you live greater than 35 degrees north of the equator, you cannot produce adequate vitamin D, even if you were to spend an abundance of time out in the midday sun.

Therefore, it is important to have your vitamin D levels tested to ensure you are transitioning to winter with optimal vitamin D levels. The Vitamin D Council recommends adults supplement with 5,000 – 10,000 IU vitamin D3 per day to prevent or resolve vitamin D deficiency when natural vitamin D production through safe, sun exposure is not a viable option.


Nejjar, B. et al. Prevalence of the hypovitaminosis D among moroccan women consulting in ambulatory medicine. American Journal of Integrative Research and Applied Sciences. 2016.