Context: Vitamin D receptors are present in many tissues. Hypovitaminosis D is considered to be a risk factor for atherosclerosis.
Objective: This study explores the effects of vitamin D replacement on insulin sensitivity, endothelial function, inflammation, oxidative stress, and leptin in vitamin D-deficient subjects.
Design, setting, and patients: Twenty-three asymptomatic vitamin D-deficient subjects with 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels below 25 nmol/liter were compared with a control group that had a mean 25(OH)D level of 75 nmol/liter. The vitamin D-deficient group received 300,000 IU im monthly for 3 months. The following parameters were evaluated before and after treatment: vitamin D metabolites, leptin, endothelial function by brachial artery flow mediated dilatation (FMD), insulin sensitivity index based on oral glucose tolerance test, and lipid peroxidation as measures of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS).
Results: FMD measurements were significantly lower in 25(OH)D-deficient subjects than controls (P = 0.001) and improved after replacement therapy (P = 0.002). Posttreatment values of TBARS were significantly lower than pretreatment levels (P < 0.001). A positive correlation between FMD and 25(OH)D (r = 0.45; P = 0.001) and a negative correlation between FMD and TBARS (r = -0.28; P < 0.05) were observed. There was a significant increase in leptin levels after therapy, and the leptin levels were positively correlated with 25(OH)D levels (r = 0.45; P < 0.05).
Conclusions: This study shows that 25(OH)D deficiency is associated with endothelial dysfunction and increased lipid peroxidation. Replacement of vitamin D has favorable effects on endothelial function. Vitamin D deficiency can be seen as an independent risk factor of atherosclerosis. Hypovitaminosis D-associated endothelial dysfunction may predispose to higher rates of cardiovascular disease in the winter.