Vitamin D deficiency raises risk of metabolic syndrome in children, study finds
29 Nov 2021 --- The prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) is higher in children with a vitamin D deficiency compared to those who are not deficient in the nutrient. This is according to researchers at the Alborz University of Medical Sciences, Iran, whose study results stress the importance of prevention of vitamin D deficiency in younger populations.
MetS begins early in life and is one of the important underlying factors for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in adulthood, the researchers flag.
MetS is a group of conditions that include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. When these conditions occur together, the risk of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes increases.
The study authors highlight that vitamin D supplementation in schools should be considered, particularly in countries with a high prevalence of its deficiency.
This is because “knowledge on the benefits of vitamin D and the unfavorable effects of its insufficiency is growing by the day, and the beneficial outcomes are too important to ignore,” they state.
Physical examination and blood sample collection
The nationwide cross-sectional study was performed as part of a surveillance program in Iran. The participants were 2,596 students, aged between seven to eighteen years old, living in 30 provinces.
The study process included filling questionnaires, a physical examination and blood sample collections. The serum concentration of 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D) was measured using the direct competitive immunoassay chemiluminescence method.
The study results showed the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency in participants was 10.6% (n = 276) and 60.5% (n = 1570), respectively. The majority of MetS was higher in the vitamin D deficient group.
Additionally, the researchers flag that the students with deficient vitamin D levels had higher odds of MetS, abdominal obesity and high fasting blood sugar in comparison to those with sufficient levels.
Although vitamin D is vital for good health, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety have previously warned of the dangers of vitamin D overdose, especially for infants.
Vitamin D’s potential underscored
Industry players have been interested in the role of vitamin D to prevent and treat ailments.
In this space, DSM recently highlighted the need for regulatory and educational changes when dealing with nutrient deficiencies in children.
Earlier this month, the Council for Responsible Nutrition found a correlation between higher levels of vitamin D and lower severity of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Kappa Bioscience research revealed that vitamin D and vitamin K2 alleviate inflammation when combined. A German Cancer Research Center study also showed that vitamin D supplementation could prevent 30,000 cancer deaths annually.
By Nicole Kerr
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