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Metabolic Syndrome 40 percent less likely in seniors with vitamin D – Dec 2014

Vitamin D status and metabolic syndrome in the elderly: the Rotterdam Study

European Society of Endocrinology, on-line December 2, 2014, doi: 10.1530/EJE-14-0580
Anna Vitezova, Carola Zillikens, Thijs van Herpt, Eric Sijbrands, Albert Hofman, Andre Uitterlinden, Oscar Franco and Jessica Kiefte-de Jong⇑
A Vitezova, Epidemiology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, 3000 CA, Netherlands
C Zillikens, Internal Medicine, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, Netherlands
T van Herpt, Epidemiology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, Netherlands
E Sijbrands, Internal Medicine, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, Netherlands
A Hofman, Epidemiology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, Netherlands
A Uitterlinden, Internal Medicine, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, Netherlands
O Franco, Epidemiology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, Netherlands
J Kiefte-de Jong, Rotterdam, 3000CA, Netherlands j.c.kiefte-dejong at erasmusmc.nl


Objective: The effects of vitamin D in the elderly are inconsistent. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between vitamin D status and the metabolic syndrome (MetS) in the elderly, as well as between vitamin D status and the components of MetS (i.e.

  • serum glucose,
  • triglycerides (TG),
  • HDL cholesterol (HDL-C),
  • waist circumference (WC), and
  • blood pressure (BP)).


Methods: The study was embedded in the Rotterdam Study, a population-based cohort of middle-aged and elderly adults.
We analyzed data from 3240 people (median age 71.2 years) who did not have type 2 diabetes mellitus at baseline.

Results: We found higher 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations associated with lower prevalence of MetS (Odds Ratio (OR); 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.61; 0.49, 0.77 for adequate levels (≥75nmol/l) versus deficiency (<50nmol/l) .
Additionally, in analysis of the individual components, the ORs for adequate versus deficient vitamin D levels were:

  • 0.66 (95%CI 0.53,0.83) for elevated WC,
  • 0.67 (95%CI 0.52,0.86) for reduced HDL-C,
  • 0.69 (95%CI 0.54,0.88) for elevated triglycerides,
  • 0.80 (95%CI 0.65,0.99) for elevated fasting glucose.

Vitamin D was not associated with elevated blood pressure, ORs for adequacy versus deficiency were 0.82 (95%CI 0.65,1.03).

Conclusion: Higher 25(OH)D concentrations in the elderly are associated with lower prevalence of MetS and, in particular, with more beneficial HDL-C, TG, WC and serum glucose. Since the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is common worldwide and its risk increases with age, if causality is proven, benefits of improving vitamin D status among the elderly may be great.

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