High vitamin D levels linked to lower cholesterol in children
A recent study from Finland shows that children with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels >80 nmol/l had lower plasma total and LDL cholesterol levels than children whose serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were
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.
Vitamin D is known to be essential for bone metabolism and prevents rickets, osteomalacia, and osteopenia. However, evidence on its beneficial impact on risk factors for cardiovascular diseases is still scarce and partially conflicting, and therefore not a sufficient basis for giving recommendations.
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 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 µg/d, corresponding to 200-2000 IU/d) depending on age group and other factors. Vitamin D is synthesised 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.
To prevent vitamin D deficiency NICE recommends that all adults and children over the age of 1 year living in the UK should take a daily supplement containing 400 IU (10 μg) of vitamin D throughout the year.
NICE Clinical Knowledge Summary: Vitamin D deficiency in adults – treatment and prevention https://cks.nice.org.uk/vitamin-d-deficiency-in-adults-treatment-and-prevention#!scenario:1
NICE Clinical Knowledge Summary: Vitamin D deficiency in children https://cks.nice.org.uk/vitamin-d-deficiency-in-children#!scenario:1
More research is needed to uncover the reasons behind the inverse association of serum vitamin D with plasma lipid levels.
Soininen S, et al. Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D, plasma lipids, and associated gene variants in prepubertal children. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2018;103 (7): 2670-79). https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/103/7/2670/4993920