October 01, 2018
1 min read

Vitamin D supplementation may improve metabolic syndrome parameters in children with obesity

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Children with overweight and obesity assigned to receive vitamin D supplementation for 1 year experienced decreases in BMI and fat mass and a rise in HDL cholesterol vs. similar children assigned to placebo, according to study findings presented at the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology annual meeting.

“These findings suggest that simple vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk of overweight and obese children developing serious heart and metabolic complications later in life,” Evangelia Charmandari, MD, MRCP, MSc, PhD, CCST, professor of pediatric and adolescent endocrinology at the University of Athens Medical School, said in a press release.

Charmandari and colleagues analyzed data from 220 children with obesity (mean age, 10 years) assigned to receive vitamin D (n = 109) or placebo (n = 111; controls) for 1 year. Children in the intervention group received 50,000 IU vitamin D weekly for the first 6 weeks, followed by a maintenance dose. Researchers measured levels of 25-(OH)D, liver function, bone and cardiometabolic parameters at baseline and 12 months, as well as systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Over 12 months, children assigned to vitamin D experienced a decrease in BMI compared with baseline levels (P = .001) and a lower BMI vs. children assigned to placebo (P = .016). The children assigned to vitamin D also had lower fat mass at 12 months (P = .007) and higher HDL levels (P < .05) vs. children assigned to placebo. There were no between-group differences for arterial BP, HbA1c or measures of insulin resistance, according to the researchers.

“Although these initial findings indicate that vitamin D could be used in the treatment of obesity, there remains a lack of evidence on the safety and long-term effects of supplementation, particularly if there is no vitamin D deficiency,” Charmandari said in the release. “However, if your child is overweight or obese, I recommend that you consult your primary care physician for advice and consider having their vitamin D levels tested.” – by Regina Schaffer


Charmandari E, et al. Abstract P3-P149. Presented at: European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology Meeting; Sept. 27-29, 2018; Athens.

Disclosure : Endocrine Today was unable to determine relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.