Dr Michos said low concentrations of vitamin D, defined as serum 25(OH)D below 30 ng/mL, are present in more than two-thirds of the US adult population and in an estimated 1 billion individuals worldwide. 

“So, this is a major relevant public health issue. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with a number of non-bone-related adverse health outcomes, including increased risk for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). One of the mechanisms by which vitamin D may influence CVD risk is through an effect on lipids,” Dr Michos told Endocrinology Advisor. “The potential link between vitamin D deficiency and adverse lipid profile should be of great interest to a large number of practitioners who treat both vitamin D and lipid disorders, including endocrinologists, internists, lipidologists, and cardiologists.”

Previous studies, including one study conducted by her team and recently published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology, suggested that low levels of vitamin D were associated with an atherogenic lipid profile consisting of elevated LDL cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, and lower HDL cholesterol, noted Dr Michos.2 However, most of the evidence supporting this association was obtained in cross-sectional analyses. 

For this current investigation, the researchers analyzed the association between vitamin D status and the lipid profile prospectively using data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. This large study of a US community-based sample of blacks and whites collected data on numerous demographic, lifestyle, and clinical variables spanning multiple clinic visits. Unlike prior investigations, ARIC allowed for extensive adjustment of possible confounders over time, according to Dr Michos. It also contained information regarding initiation of lipid-lowering medication use during follow-up. 

Dr Michos said further research is warranted, including randomized, controlled trials, to assess whether treating vitamin D deficiency can impact lipids and thereby influence CVD risk.

References

  1. Faridi K, Zhao D, Martin SS, et al. Vitamin D and Change in Lipids Over 5 Years: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. Presented at: ACC 65th Annual Scientific Session & Expo; April 2-4, 2016; Chicago, IL.
  2. Lupton JR, Faridi KF, Martin SS, et al. Deficient serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D is associated with an atherogenic lipid profile: The Very Large Database of Lipids (VLDL-3) study. J Clin Lipidol. 2016;10(1):72-81. doi:10.1016/j.jacl.2015.09.006.