High vitamin D levels linked to lower cholesterol in children

June 7, 2018, University of Eastern Finland
Credit: 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 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, , 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 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 D supplements varies a lot among these countries (mostly 5-50 µg/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 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.

Explore further: Milk, vitamin supplements and exercise raise children's vitamin D levels

More information: Sonja Soininen et al. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, Plasma Lipids, and Associated Gene Variants in Prepubertal Children, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (2018). DOI: 10.1210/jc.2018-00335

Related Stories

Milk, vitamin supplements and exercise raise children's vitamin D levels

February 5, 2016
Sufficient intake of fortified dairy products is of significant importance for the serum vitamin D level in primary school children, shows a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. Children who drink at least three ...

Vitamin D deficiency increases risk of chronic headache

January 4, 2017
Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of chronic headache, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. The findings were published in Scientific Reports.

Vitamin D reduces mortality

March 1, 2018
A normal intake of vitamin D can reduce the risk of death substantially in people with cardiovascular disease, a Norwegian study shows.

Low vitamin D levels a risk factor for pneumonia

April 30, 2013
A University of Eastern Finland study showed that low serum vitamin D levels are a risk factor for pneumonia. The risk of contracting pneumonia was more than 2.5 times greater in subjects with the lowest vitamin D levels ...

Recommended for you

Engineered enzyme eliminates nicotine addiction in preclinical tests

October 17, 2018
Oct. 17, 2018—Scientists at Scripps Research have successfully tested a potential new smoking-cessation treatment in rodents.

Self-lubricating latex could boost condom use: study

October 17, 2018
A perpetually unctuous, self-lubricating latex developed by a team of scientists in Boston could boost the use of condoms, they reported Wednesday in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

How healthy will we be in 2040?

October 17, 2018
A new scientific study of forecasts and alternative scenarios for life expectancy and major causes of death in 2040 shows all countries are likely to experience at least a slight increase in lifespans. In contrast, one scenario ...

Study finds evidence of intergenerational transmission of trauma among ex-POWs from the Civil War

October 16, 2018
A trio of researchers affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research has found evidence that suggests men who were traumatized while POWs during the U.S. Civil War transmitted that trauma to their offspring—many ...

Father's nicotine use can cause cognitive problems in children and grandchildren

October 16, 2018
A father's exposure to nicotine may cause cognitive deficits in his children and even grandchildren, according to a study in mice publishing on October 16 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Pradeep Bhide of Florida ...

Many supplements contain unapproved, dangerous ingredients: study

October 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—U.S. health officials have issued more than 700 warnings during the last decade about the sale of dietary supplements that contain unapproved and potentially dangerous drug ingredients, new research reveals.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.