A new study conducted by the Mayo Clinic investigating childhood obesity and published in the journal Pediatric Obesity emphasizes the fact that vitamin D does not offer benefits to obese teens concerning the prevention of heart diseases or diabetes. Moreover, vitamin D supplements may increase the risk of cholesterol and triglycerides altogether.
Statistics show that 1 in 5 American adolescents is obese, while the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that obesity has quadrupled among teenagers in the last 30 years.
Despite the fact that supplements in a high dose are recommended by some health care centers, in order to impede cardiovascular disease and insulin resistance, a pediatric endocrinologist in the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center, Dr. Seema Kumar, said that the benefits from vitamin D supplementation are limited.
It is widely known that the most common source for vitamin D is sunlight and aliments such as fish oil. People who don’t obtain their fair share of vitamin D are advised to take supplements.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, appearing in several forms. It is required for the normal development of teeth and bones, and produced by ultraviolet irradiation of sterols encountered in fish, milk and eggs.
The scientific team, however, examined how vitamin D supplementation would affect 19 obese teenagers, aged 13 to 18, who experienced vitamin D deficiency.
To her surprise, Dr. Kumar did not discover any health improvements whatsoever. Even after three months of raising the adolescents’ dose of vitamin D, no changes were observed in body mass index, blood flow, body weight, blood pressure or waistline.
On the other hand, the new study discovered a high level of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood among the subjects and, in general, a high level of cholesterol in the blood is connected to atherosclerosis, leading to heart disease.
Moreover, she said that a vitamin D overdose would imply a condition known as vitamin D toxicity, or hypervitaminosis, resulting in nausea, vomiting, poor appetite and kidney complications.
However, Dr. Kumar said it would be best for this situation to be further investigated, as limitations were encountered, attributable to the small number of children involved and a too short timeframe.
She finally pointed out that reasonable vitamin D supplementation might be indicated for obese teens, however the health improvements in adolescents are still unknown.
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