• David Steuer

Vitamin D Status Linked to Body Fat in Older Women

Updated: Mar 28, 2019

Older women tend to have low serum 25 hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels, low bone mineral density, and high parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels, all harbingers of frailty. Based on new findings, Italian investigators suggest that clinicians should consider fat mass when addressing the bone health of these women.

In a study of 218 fit and healthy women older than 65 (mean age 71 years), fat mass significantly related with serum vitamin D status in agreement with previous research, Caterina Trevisan, MD, of the University of Padova in Italy, and colleagues reported in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging. Higher fat mass correlated with lower 25(OH)D levels, yet higher bone mineral density, including in the lumbar, femoral neck, and total hip regions. Women with higher adiposity had 58% lower risks of secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT)o, binary logistic analysis revealed. The average body mass index was 27.1 kg/m2. By contrast, consumption of vitamin D from foods, without dietary supplementation, showed no relationship with 25(OH)D levels, bone mineral density, or SHPT, also in line with previous studies. None of the older women achieved the recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D of 800 IU/day.

"This study demonstrates that fat mass, more than vitamin D intake, may significantly influence serum 25(OH)D levels in fit and healthy older women at or slightly above normal weight,” Dr Trevisan told Renal & Urology News. “These findings confirm that adipose tissue is a factor to be considered when evaluating vitamin D supplementation, since it may influence the achievement of normal values of serum 25(OH)D. At the same time, the protective effect of adipose tissue on bone mineral density suggests that excessive weight loss in such women could be unhealthy for bone mass.”

Fat can store vitamin D and thereby reduce its bioavailability, the investigators suggested.

“The fact that bone health parameters did not deteriorate despite the low serum 25(OH)D levels might be due to gravitational loading and to fat-mediated endocrine mechanisms likely preserving bone mass,” they wrote.

Physiologic or pathologic changes in fat mass or fat-free mass can significantly influence bone metabolism, Dr Trevisan added. In clinical practice, she recommended using validated methods to assess the body composition of older patients.

For the study, participants completed a 3-day food diary and food frequency questionnaire. They underwent laboratory testing for 25(OH)D and intact PTH. Bone mineral density and body composition were estimated using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry with fan-beam technology. The investigators defined vitamin D insufficiency as 25(OH)D levels below 50 mmol/L. SHPT was indicated by PTH above 60 pg/mL. Nearly 2 in 3 participants (61.9%) had vitamin D insufficiency. Just 1 in 5 had elevated PTH levels. Osteoporosis developed in 29.8%, and osteopenia in 53.7%. None of the participants had pre-existing kidney disease.

Sunlight exposure also influences serum 25(OH)D levels. As this is difficult to modify, the investigators did not examine it directly. Instead they adjusted results for sunlight exposure using the month of the blood test. Endogenous production of vitamin D is another relevant factor, but it is typically reduced in the elderly.

#vitaminD #bodyfat #fat

2 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All




About us


Upcoming Events



Medical Disclaimer

This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. David Steuer and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Steuer nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

© 2019 Dr. Dave Steuer. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy     Terms of Use     DMCA Policy      Join The Team