Latest research in childhood obesity at the Mayo Clinic shows that stuffing obese teens with vitamin D has no beneficial effects in relation to their heart and does absolutely nothing to reduce the risk of diabetes. In fact, the findings suggest that excessive doses of vitamin D could cause unpremeditated consequences, such as elevated cholesterol and fat-storing triglycerides.

Using Vitamin D To Manage Obesity

According to the Journal of American Medical Association, every one in five American adolescents suffer from obesity, while more than one-third are overweight. Several observational studies have detected associations between vitamin D deficiency and various weight-related medical complications, such as cardiovascular ailments and insulin resistance. In light of these, healthcare professionals often administer high doses of vitamin D supplements to slow or reverse these clinical difficulties.

Seema Kumar, M.D., a Pediatric Endocrinologist in the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center explained that certain parents and caregivers administer extremely high doses of vitamin D – often five to ten times more than the daily recommended dosage – in hopes to improve vascular functioning. She decided to study the efficacy of this treatment regime due to its increasing popularity, and since obese individuals are at a greater risk of developing chronic diseases.

The Results Of Various Studies

Dr Kumar has been investigated the effects of vitamin D on children for 10 years. She has conducted four clinical trials and published six studies in the process. To date, her team has found limited benefits of the supplementation regime in adolescents. Her latest study, Effect of Vitamin D3 Treatment on Endothelial Function in Obese Adolescents was published in the journal Pediatric Obesity.

“After three months of vitamin D intake, which boosted into the normal range by supplements, the teenagers showed no changes in body weight, body mass index, waistline, blood pressure or blood flow,” stated Dr Kumar. “This doesn’t mean that links between vitamin D deficiency and chronic diseases don’t exist for children – we just haven’t found any yet”.

This lack of evidence to support an association between vitamin D supplementation and decreased risk of chronic diseases surprises Dr Kumar. She stated that taking vitamin D in reasonable doses is beneficial, and it is well-documented that most obese teenagers are deficient. However, its effectiveness in improving the overall health of adolescents remains doubtful.

Future Research And Findings

This is the first of Dr Kumar’s studies that indicate a rather negative effect of excessive vitamin D supplementation – increased levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. However, these results might be attributed to the small number of study participants or the somewhat limited timeframe. She calls for a larger, placebo-controlled study to investigate the long-term consequences of vitamin D supplementation on children and adolescents.

Vitamin D For Obese Teens – Not A Very Good Idea!

In her studies, Dr Kumar also observed a condition called hypervitaminosis, in which ingesting excessive amounts of vitamin D could cause toxicity, leading to nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and renal complications.