Vitamin D Supplementation Linked to Improved BP and Insulin Sensitivity in Overweight, Obese Children

Children who were overweight or obese and vitamin D-deficient who took a relatively high dose of vitamin D every day for 6 months had lower blood pressure (BP) and fasting glucose concentrations, and improved insulin sensitivity than their peers who took a lower dose of vitamin D, according to study results published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
“Current recommendations for taking vitamin D are pegged to optimal bone health,” said Kumaravel Rajakumar, MD, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “But we know vitamin D is involved in more than building healthy bones. It can turn on and off genes that direct our cells to regulate blood glucose levels, and immune and vascular function.”

The study enrolled 225 healthy, but vitamin D-deficient, children aged 10 to 18 years who were overweight or obese. Of the participants, 211 were black. The children were split into 3 groups, with 1 group receiving 600 IU vitamin D daily, which is the current recommended daily dietary allowance, and the other 2 groups received either a 1,000 or 2,000 IU vitamin D daily.

Blood tests showed that the higher the daily dose of vitamin D, the greater the improvement in the participants’ blood concentration of vitamin D. By the conclusion of the trial, none of the groups were considered vitamin D deficient.

After 6 months, the children receiving the daily 2,000 IU vitamin D supplement had a reduced fasting blood glucose level and improved insulin sensitivity, and the children receiving 1,000 IUs of vitamin D daily had lower BP.

Changes at 3 and 6 months in endothelial function, arterial stiffness, systemic-systolic BP, lipids, and inflammatory markers did not differ between children receiving 1,000 or 2,000 IU vitamin D and children receiving 600 IU vitamin D.

“There are many reasons we might not have seen changes in endothelial function or arterial stiffness,” said Dr. Rajakumar. “Maybe vitamin D simply doesn’t influence these, or perhaps we didn’t reach and maintain a level of vitamin D to cause an effect. It could also be that our trial didn’t run long enough. However, treatment of vitamin D deficiency with these higher daily doses can have a positive impact on cardiometabolic health of children, without negative side effects.”


SOURCE: University of Pittsburgh

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