Low Vitamin D increases your risk of developing metabolic syndrome

May 21, 2009

Low or deficient levels of Vitamin D may increase the risk of metabolic syndrome by 52% according to a new study. The study of 3,262 Chinese people aged between 50 to 70 showed that 94% were vitamin D deficient or insufficient, and 42% of these people also had metabolic syndrome. “Vitamin D deficiency is becoming a condition that is causing a large burden of disease across the globe with particular deleterious impact among the elderly,” said researcher Dr Oscar Franco from Warwick Medical School in England.

While the study was conducted in elderly Chinese people, Dr Franco said the results are consistent with the findings of other studies in Western populations, and he suggested vitamin D deficiency could become a global health problem. “Our results are consistent with those found in British and American populations. We found that low Vitamin D levels were associated with an increased risk of having metabolic syndrome, and was also significantly associated with increased insulin resistance,” he said. Metabolic syndrome is a condition characterised by obesity, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, insulin resistance, and elevated cholesterol and triglycerides. The syndrome has been linked to increased risks of both type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD).

In the study those with the lowest average 25(OH)D levels (28.7 nmol/l) were 52% more likely to have metabolic syndrome than people with the highest average noted Franco and his co-workers. “Vitamin D deficiency is now recognised as a worldwide concern and metabolic syndrome has become a global epidemic. More research is needed to find out why older people are more likely to have lower levels of Vitamin D and how this is linked to the development of metabolic syndrome and related metabolic diseases,” said Dr Franco. The study is published online ahead of print in the journal Diabetes Care.