Body fat content and 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in healthy women

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Jan;88(1):157-61. doi: 10.1210/jc.2002-020978.


Obesity is associated with alterations in the vitamin D endocrine system. Lower levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) in morbidly obese individuals may be secondary to an alteration in tissue distribution resulting from an increase in adipose mass. Therefore, morbidly obese individuals are expected to need higher doses of vitamin D supplementation than the general population. However, it is still unknown whether adiposity (or percentage body fat) should be taken into consideration while assessing vitamin D requirements in the general population. To study the relationship between 25-OHD levels and percentage body fat content in healthy women, we studied 410 healthy women between 20 and 80 yr of age with body mass index ranging from 17 to 30 kg/m2. We analyzed the correlation between serum 25-OHD level and percentage body fat measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. We also analyzed the influence of season, dietary vitamin D intake, age, and race on this relationship. The levels of serum 25-OHD inversely correlated with percentage body fat. The correlation was -0.13 (P = 0.013) after adjusting for race, age, season, and dietary vitamin D intake. In a multiple stepwise regression, race and season were found to have a major influence on serum 25-OHD (cumulative R2 = 0.34), and percentage body fat, although modest (additional R2 = 0.02), also had an independent statistically significant influence on serum 25-OHD levels. We conclude, percentage body fat content is inversely related to the serum 25-OHD levels in healthy women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Size
  • Racial Groups
  • Reference Values
  • Seasons
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood*


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D