Objective: In small case-control studies, obesity was associated with worse vitamin D status. Our aim was to assess the association of adiposity (anthropometric measures as well as dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OH-D) and serum PTH levels in a large population-based study including older men and women.
Methods: Subjects were participants of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam and were aged 65 yr and older. In 453 participants, serum 25-OH-D and PTH were determined, and body mass index, waist circumference, waist to hip ratio, sum of skin folds, and total body fat percentage by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry were measured.
Results: After adjustment for potential confounders, higher body mass index, waist circumference, and sum of skin folds were statistically significantly associated with lower 25-OH-D (standardized beta values were -0.136, -0.137, and -0.140, respectively; all P < 0.05) and with higher PTH (0.166, 0.113, and 0.114, respectively; all P < 0.05). Total body fat percentage was more strongly associated with 25-OH-D and PTH (-0.261 and 0.287, respectively; both P < 0.001) compared with anthropometric measures. Total body fat percentage remained associated with 25-OH-D after adjustment for PTH, and with PTH after adjustment for 25-OH-D.
Conclusion: Precisely measured total body fat is inversely associated with 25-OH-D levels and is positively associated with PTH levels. The associations were weaker if anthropometric measures were used, indicating a specific role of adipose tissue. Regardless of the possible underlying mechanisms, it may be relevant to take adiposity into account when assessing vitamin D requirements.