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Vitamin D Levels Linked to Lower Cholesterol in Children

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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, 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. More research is needed to uncover the reasons behind the inverse association of serum vitamin D with plasma lipid levels.

From University of Eastern Finland  Photo John Vlahakis

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