Obese adolescents benefit from high-dose vitamin D

November 2nd, 2011 - 4:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Nov 2 (IANS) Providing obese adolescents with a high daily dose of vitamin D3 can be a safe and effective way of improving their vitamin D status.

Vitamin D3 deficiency is linked to a surprising number of other health conditions such as depression, back pain, cancer, both insulin resistance and pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, impaired immunity and macular degeneration.

“Obese adolescents face an increased risk for deficiency because they tend to absorb vitamin D in their fat stores, which prevents it from being utilised in their blood,” said Catherine Peterson, associate professor of nutrition and exercise physiology who led the study at University of Missouri.

“We found that a daily dose of 4,000 IUs (international units) of vitamin D3, the maximum intake level set by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), is safe and effective at improving vitamin D status in obese adolescents,” added Peterson, according to a university statement.

Vitamin D is obtained by eating certain foods, taking supplements and through sunlight exposure. It is essential for maintaining healthy bones, muscles, nerves and immunity. The IOM recently set new dietary reference intakes for vitamin D.

They recommend 600 IUs per day, with a tolerable upper intake of 4,000 IUs.

Based on the guidelines, it is important to determine the effects of a vitamin D dose that is equivalent to the upper limit, especially in understudied groups, such as obese adolescents, Peterson said.

Obese adolescents are only about half as efficient at using vitamin D as their lean counterparts.

“It takes 4,000 IUs to raise their vitamin D status within a sufficient range. This is much higher than the currently recommended daily amount for this age group. This indicates that physicians need to carefully evaluate the vitamin D status in their overweight and obese patients.”

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of Experimental Biology.

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