Vitamin D supplements are widely prescribed and administered to overweight or obese teenagers in the hopes of boosting their metabolism, but the research done pedriatic endocrinologist Seema Kumar might stand to contradict this.
According to Dr. Kumar, observations done on obese teenagers who were prescribed high vitamin D supplement doses over the course of three months showed no sign of helping change in either body weight, blood pressure, waistline or other obesity indicators. This does not stand to contradict a possible link between vitamin D deficiency and chronic diseases in children, but it doesn’t prove it either.
Dr. Kumar, an Indian-American researcher working at Mayo Clinic’s Children Centre, instead pointed out that the subjects showed a higher level of cholesterol and triglycerides during the treatment. She had done previous studies on the effects of vitamin D supplements, but this was the first one to offer such adverse effects. High cholesterol, amongst others, could cause cardiovascular diseases and even heart attacks in some cases, as it deposits fat onto blood vessels and slows blood circulation.
While the cholesterol increase isn’t excessive, it does matter in the case of overweight children and teenagers as they are more prone to developing chronic diseases. Dr. Kumar has stated her surprise at not being able to find solid benefits to vitamin D prescriptions – although she did call for further studies to observe if there are actually significant long-term effects of them.
Vitamin D supplements are usually recommended in obese or overweight teenagers as they generally present low levels of the substance, and while a direct link hasn’t been established a pattern between this and some chronic diseases seems to have been established. However, the news that it increases cholesterol levels finally does away with vitamin D as viable diabetes prevention method.
Doctors are often keen in prescribing quite high doses of such supplements in teenage obesity cases, while parents themselves most of the time even increase them thinking that it will have a more immediate effect. This should never be done without professional advice from pediatricians, as the discovery of one side effect might warrant future, worse reveals to happen.
sImage Source: WebMD