Vitamin D, Obesity, and the Metabolic Syndrome

Elina Hypponen, Barbara J. Boucher

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The increased risk of vitamin D deficiency in obesity is well established. There is substantial variation in the estimated strength of the association between different population groups, likely reflecting methodological issues in measuring adiposity and 25(OH)D concentrations. Genetic studies have shown that higher body mass index (BMI) is a causal risk factor for low 25(OH)D concentrations and have also shown that higher 25(OH)D does not, in turn, affect BMI. Clinical trial evidence for benefits of vitamin D supplementation in terms of affecting weight gain or adiposity remains limited. There are some clinical trials, typically with concomitant calcium supplementation and in the presence of low-dietary calcium intakes, which have suggested potential reductions in central fat deposits. Vitamin D supplementation is notably less effective in increasing 25(OH)D concentrations in obese compared with normal-weight participants. Although causality of association remains to be established, at the physiological and biochemical level active hormonal vitamin D has been shown to have many mechanistic effects counteracting ill-effects of obesity, which can reduce the risks of tissue damage consequent to adiposity, and its related metabolic disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHealth, Disease and Therapeutics
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780128099650
ISBN (Print)9780128099643
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2017


  • Adiposity
  • BMI
  • Epigenetics
  • Mechanisms
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Nutritional status
  • Obesity
  • Supplementation
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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