Vitamin D in teens: Don’t overdo it, bad things might happen


Dosing obese teens with vitamin D shows no benefits for their heart health or diabetes risk, and could have the unintended consequences of increasing cholesterol and fat-storing triglycerides. These are the latest findings in a series of Mayo Clinic studies in childhood obesity.

Seema Kumar, M.D., a pediatric endocrinologist in the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center, has been studying the effects of vitamin D supplementation in children for 10 years, through four clinical trials and six published studies. To date, Dr. Kumar’s team has found limited benefit from vitamin D supplements in adolescents. The latest study, Effect of Vitamin D3 Treatment on Endothelial Function in Obese Adolescents, appears online in Pediatric Obesity.

“After three months of having vitamin D boosted into the normal range with supplements, these teenagers showed no changes in body weight, body mass index, waistline, blood pressure or blood flow,” says Dr. Kumar. “We’re not saying the links between vitamin D deficiency and chronic diseases don’t exist for children—we just haven’t found any yet.”

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