Dr Iltaf Shah Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi

Scientists at UAE University (UAEU) have developed a new way of determining a person’s vitamin D levels, with the new method providing a more accurate number for the person’s vitamin D measurement.

“Vitamin D exists in our blood in at least 10 different forms, with current testing methods unable to distinguish between these different metabolites, some of which, don’t have any benefits for the person, and so this can lead to false positives with a person believing their vitamin D levels are fine,” explained Dr Iltaf Shah, assistant professor of Biochemistry at UAEU, and one of the leading scientists involved in the research.

“The method that we have developed — liquid chromatography mass spectrometry — is able to separate and distinguish between these different metabolites, and is therefore able to give a more accurate picture of the person’s vitamin D levels,” he added.

“This new technique is capable of accounting for the misleading measures due to metabolites that don’t have any benefit or use for the person, and so it gives the whole picture,” he said.

Dr Shah said that the new technique was being tested at a hospital. “We have entered into an agreement with one hospital, and so we were able to carry out our new technique with real patients, collecting 350 blood samples.

“The tests showed that our method works, with the results set to be published hopefully by the end of this month,” he added.

Speaking on the costs of the new testing, Dr Shah said that the cost had not been determined yet, but he expected it to be cheaper than the current testing techniques.

Dr Shah said that he was confident that the new form of testing would have major benefits for the country’s health sector, especially when it came to vitamin D deficiency levels.

“Despite the availability of sunshine in the UAE, the UAE has a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency — about 80 per cent of the UAE population has vitamin D deficiency.

“Our goal is to bring this new testing method to all the hospitals in the UAE so people can get the right results from their samples, which will allow them to make the right health choices for their futures,” he added.