Differences in vitamin D concentration between metabolically healthy and unhealthy obese adults: associations with inflammatory and cardiometabolic markers in 4391 subjects

A Esteghamati, Z Aryan, A Esteghamati, M Nakhjavani
Diabetes & Metabolism 2014, 40 (5): 347-55

AIM: This study aimed to compare concentrations of serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D and inflammatory markers in metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) and metabolically unhealthy obesity (MUO), and to determine whether the relationship between vitamin D levels and both cardiometabolic and inflammatory markers differs between MHO and MUO.

METHODS: This cross-sectional study comprised 4391 obese subjects aged>18 years. A panel of cardiometabolic and inflammatory markers, including anthropometric variables, glycaemic indices, lipid profiles, liver enzymes, homocysteine, C-reactive protein (CRP), fibrinogen and serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels, was investigated. All cardiometabolic and inflammatory markers in MHO and MUO as well as in vitamin D deficiency were compared.

RESULTS: Prevalence of MHO was 41.9% in our obese subjects using International Diabetes Federation criteria. Considering insulin resistance and inflammation, the prevalence of MHO was 38.4%. Individuals with MHO had significantly higher vitamin D concentrations compared with MUO, and this difference in vitamin D status persisted after accounting for BMI and waist circumference. Subjects with MHO had significantly better metabolic status, lower liver enzymes, lower inflammatory markers and higher serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D than those with MUO. Associations between vitamin D levels and inflammatory and cardiometabolic markers differed according to MHO/MUO status. Among MUO subjects, vitamin D deficiency was associated with higher liver marker and homocysteine levels. Serum vitamin D was negatively associated with fasting plasma glucose and HbA1c in MHO only.

CONCLUSION: Serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels were lower in MUO vs MHO, and reduced vitamin D concentrations were more strongly associated with cardiometabolic and inflammatory markers in MUO than in MHO subjects. These findings suggest that a deficiency in vitamin D could be a key component of MUO.

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