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Eliana Piantanida, Daniela Gallo, Giovanni Veronesi, Eugenia Dozio, Eugenia Trotti, Adriana Lai, Silvia Ippolito, Jessica Sabatino, Maria Laura Tanda, Antonio Toniolo, Marco Ferrario and Luigi Bartalena

Objective

The aim of this observational study was to clarify the link between vitamin D status and metabolic syndrome (MetS) in people with visceral obesity.

Design and methods

One hundred ninety-six consecutive patients (152 women; mean age 51 ± 13 years) with visceral obesity (mean body weight 103 ± 20 kg, mean waist circumference (WC) 119 ± 13 cm) were enrolled at the Obesity Outpatient Clinic of the University of Insubria in Varese. Anthropometric measurements were recorded. Laboratory tests, including vitamin D (25(OH)D)), fasting blood glucose (FBG), lipid profile, liver and kidney function tests were assessed. Vitamin D status was defined according to the European Society of Endocrinology guidelines, MetS to the 2009 harmonized definition.

Results

An inverse association emerged among 25(OH)D, body mass index (BMI) (P = 0.001) and WC (all P = 0.003). Serum 25(OH)D levels were inversely related to FBG and systolic blood pressure (SBP) (respectively, P = 0.01 and 0.02). Median serum 25(OH)D levels were 13.3 ng/mL (CI 95% 12; 15) in MetS and 16 ng/mL (CI 95% 14; 18) (P = 0.01) in non-MetS patients. Among patients with MetS, lower 25(OH)D concentrations were related to higher risk of hypertension (HT) (odds ratio (OR) 1.7, CI 95%, 0.7;4) and hyperglycemia (IFG)/type 2 diabetes (OR 5.5, CI 95% 2; 14).

Conclusion

Vitamin D status and MetS are inversely correlated in visceral obesity, particularly with regard to glucose homeostasis and BP. More extensive studies are required to investigate the potential for causality.