Vitamin D supplementation in obese adolescents did not benefit their cardiovascular health or diabetes risk. Rather, it may increase their cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Findings from the study are published in Pediatric Obesity.

Prior observational studies have shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and various weight-related medical conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and insulin resistance. Clinicians and caregivers often initiate high-dose supplementation to try and slow or reverse some of the obesity-related complications.

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Researchers from the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center found that these obese teens showed no differences in body weight, body mass index, waistline, blood pressure, or blood flow after three months of vitamin D supplement to maintain normal range. Overweight teens were chosen for this study because this population is at an increased risk for chronic disease and most are deficient in vitamin D. The study also found increased levels of cholesterol and triglycerides with vitamin D supplementation. Study authors note this may be due to the small study population and relatively short study duration.

Seema Kumar, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Children’s Center, added that the data is not ruling out definitive links between vitamin D deficiency and chronic diseases but that no clear associations have been found yet. Larger placebo-controlled studies are needed to evaluate the long-term effects of vitamin D supplementation for adolescents.

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