High vitamin D levels linked to lower cholesterol in children


June 7, 2018


University of Eastern Finland


There is
a link between higher serum vitamin D levels and lower plasma cholesterol
levels in primary school children, new research shows.


There is a link between
higher serum vitamin D levels and lower plasma cholesterol levels in primary
school children, new research from the University of Eastern Finland shows.
Children whose serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels exceeded 80 nmol/l had lower
plasma total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels than children
whose serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were below 50 nmol/l, which is often
regarded as a threshold value for vitamin D sufficiency. 25-hydroxyvitamin D is
the major circulating form of vitamin D. The findings were reported in one of
the leading journals of endocrinology, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology
and Metabolism

Vitamin D is known to be
essential for bone metabolism, and low serum 25(OH)D levels increase the risk
of rickets, osteomalacia, and osteopenia. Vitamin D may also improve plasma
lipid levels and have beneficial impact on other risk factors of cardiovascular
diseases. However, evidence on these other health effects of vitamin D is still
scarce and partially conflicting, and therefore not a sufficient basis for
giving recommendations.

Lifestyle factors, such
as healthy diet, physical activity, and spending time outdoors leading to the
production of vitamin D in the skin, may be linked to both higher serum vitamin
D levels and lower plasma lipid levels. The researchers found that the link
between higher serum vitamin D levels and lower plasma cholesterol levels was
independent of body adiposity, dietary factors, physical activity, parental
education, and daylength prior to blood sampling. Moreover, hereditary factors
that have previously been linked to serum vitamin D levels did not modify the
observed association. More research is needed to uncover the reasons behind the
inverse association of serum vitamin D with plasma lipid levels.

The new findings provide
support for the importance of following recommendations for vitamin D intake,
which vary from country to country. The most important dietary sources of
vitamin D are vitamin D fortified products such as dairy products and spreads,
and fish. In addition to the dietary intake, vitamin D supplement use is also
recommended for the general population in several countries. The recommended
use of vitamin D supplements varies a lot among these countries (mostly 5-50
?g/d, corresponding to 200-2000 IU/d) depending on age group and other factors.
Vitamin D is synthetized endogenously in the skin in the presence of
UV-radiation from the sun. However, in northern latitudes, the exposure to
sunlight alone is inadequate to maintain sufficient serum 25(OH)D levels,
especially during the winter.

The study was part of the
Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children (PANIC) Study, which is a lifestyle
intervention study in the Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Eastern
Finland. A total of 512 children aged 6 to 8 years participated in the baseline
measurements in 2007-2009, constituting a representative sample of their age
group. The PANIC Study produces scientifically valuable information on
children’s lifestyles, health, and well-being.

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Eastern Finland. Note: Content may be
edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

1.    Sonja Soininen,
Aino-Maija Eloranta, Anna Viitasalo, Geneviève Dion, Arja Erkkilä, Virpi Sidoroff,
Virpi Lindi, Anitta Mahonen, Timo A Lakka. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, Plasma
Lipids, and Associated Gene Variants in Prepubertal Children
. The
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
, 2018; DOI