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Effects of Vitamin D Supplements in Obese Teens

Study finds extra dosing may be linked to increased levels of cholesterol and fat-storing triglycerides…

Obesity in children is often associated with vitamin D deficiency and endothelial dysfunction. However, it is not known if treatment with vitamin D improves endothelial function in obese children. Previous studies have suggested that there is a link between vitamin D deficiency, insulin resistance, and heart disease, so many physicians put obese teens on high-dose vitamin D supplementation to try to slow or reverse such obesity-related health conditions.

Researchers conducted a study involving 19 obese adolescents from the ages of 13 to 18 years old with 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25[OH]D) levels less than 75nmolL-1 to determine if treatment with vitamin D3 improved endothelial function. Participants were given 100,000 IU of vitamin D3 orally once a month for 3 months. Endothelial function was assessed by flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery. Secondary endpoints included lipid, insulin, and glucose levels.

The results showed that brachial artery FMD percentage did not change significantly following vitamin D3 treatment (9.5 ± 3.53 vs. 10.3 ± 3.83, P = 0.83), there was no change in body weight, BMI, waist or hip circumference, SBP or DBP over the follow-up period (all P-values >0.20); there was an increase in total cholesterol and serum triglyceride concentrations from baseline to follow-up (P < 0.01 for both) and the remainder of biochemical measurements did not show a significant change.

After three months of receiving vitamin D supplementation within normal range, the participants showed no changes in body weight, body mass index, waistline, blood pressure or blood flow. The results found that supplementation with vitamin D did not improve obese teens’ heart health or reduce their risk of diabetes, but instead may be linked to increased levels of cholesterol and fat-storing triglycerides.

Practice Pearls:

  • Previous studies have suggested that there is a link between vitamin D deficiency, insulin resistance, and heart disease, so many physicians put obese teens on high-dose vitamin D supplementation to try to slow or reverse such obesity-related health conditions.
  • After three months of receiving vitamin D supplementation within normal range, the participants showed no changes in body weight, body mass index, waistline, blood pressure or blood flow.
  • The results found that supplementation with vitamin D did not improve obese teens’ heart health or reduce their risk of diabetes, but instead may be linked to increased levels of cholesterol and fat-storing triglycerides.

Javed A, Kullo IJ, Babu balagopal P, Kumar S. “Effect of Vitamin D3 Treatment on Endothelial Function in Obese Adolescents.” Pediatr Obes. 2015.