Previous studies have associated Vitamin D deficiency with medical complications which occur when an individual is obese including insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease. As a consequence a large number of health care providers recommend high doses of vitamin D supplements in order to prevent such complications. In some cases the vitamin intake can be five to ten times higher than the daily intake which is usually recommended.
Researchers from Mayo Clinic have conducted a study in which they investigated obesity and discovered that Vitamin D does not bring any benefits to obese teens when it comes to heart health or diabetes risk. Moreover Vitamin D can on the contrary be harmful, leading to increased levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. The paper was published in the journal Pediatric Obesity.
For the study researchers used data about 19 obese adolescents with ages between 13 and 18. All of them had vitamin D deficiency so the researchers wanted to see the effect vitamin D supplements have on their health.
In the first three months of the study the researchers boosted the participants’ vitamin D levels to the normal range. However no improvement was discovered about their health. The participants’ body mass index, weight, waistline, blood flow and blood pressure remained unchanged.
The research indicates that in case of vitamin D overdose besides the fact that an individual can experience vitamin D toxicity which involves vomiting, nausea and kidney complications he or she can also have increased cholesterol and triglycerides. Triglycerides is a fat which is found in the blood and it leads to an increased risk of developing heart disease.
Pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Seema Kumar from Mayo Clinic Children’s Center explained:
We’re not saying it’s bad to take vitamin D supplements at reasonable doses, and we know most obese teens are vitamin D deficient. We’re just saying the jury is still out on how useful it is for improving overall health in adolescents.”
According to Dr. Kumar the findings of the study could be influenced by the fact that the study involved only a small number of participants and the fact that it lasted for a short period of time. In order to find out more about the long-term effects that vitamin D has Kumar believes larger studies are needed.
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