12 January - 20 June 2016

Does Vitamin D help to lower cholesterol in children?

A study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism by Soininen et al. has found that higher serum vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) levels lead to a lower total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, as well as lower triglyceride levels in primary school aged children, independent of dietary factors, exposure to sunlight and body mass.

A study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism by Soininen et al. has found that higher serum vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) levels lead to a lower total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, as well as lower triglyceride levels in primary school aged children, independent of dietary factors, exposure to sunlight and body mass.

25-hydroxyvitamin D, also known as calcifediol, is produced in the liver from vitamin D3 and is the best measurement of serum vitamin D levels. Vitamin D helps to regulate calcium, phosphorous and increase bone strength in children, whilst deficiency can cause rickets (weak or soft bones). Low levels of serum vitamin D have been shown in some to increase risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease in adults. Previous studies to assess the relationship between cholesterol levels and vitamin D in children have been inconclusive due to high serum Vitamin D levels linked to exercise, sunlight and a good diet which may also directly relate to favourable triglyceride profiles in children. 

419 Finish primary school children aged 6-8, similar in gender, body mass and health, were assessed. Venous blood samples were taken to measure both lipids and vitamin D levels. This study showed statistically significant results of negative association between higher 25-hydroxyvitamin D and lower total cholesterol, LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein. Even after adjustment for body fat percentage and daylight time, Soininen et al. found that those with the highest serum Vitamin D levels (>79nmol/L) had the lowest total cholesterol and LDL, both showing significance.

It is important to note that in this study, unlike other similar studies, factors such as body fat percentage, physical activity, daylight tight and diet were considered. This study has confirmed findings of previous studies and found new information, however the researchers state that further studies will need to be carried out to confirm the findings and detect the mechanisms for association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and lipids.

This study highlights the importance of ensuring children have sufficient vitamin D, with the major sources coming from exposure to sunlight or vitamin D fortified products e.g. breakfast cereal. Where populations have insufficient sunlight hours, it may be necessary to supplement children’s diets to ensure recommendations for vitamin D intake are met. Atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) begins in childhood, so ensuring vitamin D intake is sufficient could reduce risk of high cholesterol related problems occurring in adulthood.

RSSL provides vitamin analysis in a wide range of matrices including drinks, fortified foods, pre-mixes and multi-vitamin tablets, including the analysis for Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3.  It provides a full vitamin and mineral analysis service to assist with labelling, due diligence, claim substantiation and stability. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

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