According to research presented in the in Annual European Society for Pediatric Endocrinology, vitamin D supplements may encourage weight loss and reduce the risk for future heart and metabolic disease in overweight and obese children. The findings show that simple vitamin D intake can contribute as an effective strategy to tackle childhood obesity and reduce the risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease, in adulthood.
Childhood obesity represents a major health problem leading to the development of expensive, serious and debilitating complications, such as heart disease and diabetes later in life. Even though vitamin D deficiency has been implicated with impaired bone health, recent studies has shown an increasing link with an increased body fat accumulation and obesity. But, the nature of this relationship is currently under research investigation.
In the research study, Dr. Christos Giannios, Professor Evangelia Charmandari and colleagues at the University of Athens Medical School and the 'Aghia Sophia' Children's Hospital in Athens, have assessed 232 obese children and adolescents over 12 months, with 117 being randomly selected for vitamin D supplementation. The assessment conducted was based on levels of vitamin D, body fat, and blood markers of liver function. "These findings suggest that simple vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk of overweight and obese children developing serious heart and metabolic complications in later life," says lead researcher Professor Charmandari.
The research team are now planning to study the effects of vitamin D supplementation on the health of obese children and adolescents with unhealthy conditions, such as high blood pressure and high blood glucose. "Although these initial findings indicate that vitamin D could be used in the treatment of obesity, there remains a lack of evidence on the safety and long-term effects of supplementation, particularly if there is no vitamin D deficiency. However, if your child is overweight or obese I recommend that you consult your primary care physician for advice, and consider having their vitamin D levels tested,” says Professor Charmandari.
Watch the video below to learn more about Vitamin D and other vitamins: