Elevated serum 25(OH)D concentrations, vitamin D, and calcium intakes are associated with reduced adipocyte size in women

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Jul;19(7):1335-41. doi: 10.1038/oby.2011.90. Epub 2011 Apr 28.


Recent studies have suggested a beneficial effect of vitamin D and calcium on adipocyte metabolism and the metabolic profile. Our objective was to examine associations of vitamin D intake, calcium and dairy products as well as serum 25(OH)D concentration with adiposity measures and adipocyte size in women. Omental and subcutaneous adipose tissue samples were obtained from 43 women undergoing gynecological surgeries. Adipocyte size was measured using adipocyte suspensions from collagenase-digested fat tissues. Total and visceral adiposity were assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and computed tomography, respectively. Serum 25(OH)D was measured by radioimmmunoassay. Dietary intakes were assessed using a food frequency questionnaire. Women consuming two or more dairy product portions daily had smaller adipocytes in the omental depot compared to women consuming less than two portions daily (79 ± 12 vs. 94 ± 16 µm, P ≤ 0.01). Dietary intakes of calcium (r = -0.55) and vitamin D (r = -0.43) as well as serum 25(OH)D (r = -0.35) were also inversely and significantly associated with omental adipocyte size (P ≤ 0.05 for all). Dietary vitamin D intake was inversely associated with visceral adipose tissue area (r = -0.34, P ≤ 0.05). Serum 25(OH)D was also inversely associated with visceral adipose tissue area (r = -0.32) as well as with total adipose tissue area (r = -0.44), subcutaneous adipose tissue area (r = -0.36), BMI (r =-0.43) and total body fat mass (r = -0.41, P ≤ 0.05 for all). In conclusion, elevated dietary vitamin D intake and serum 25(OH)D values are related to lower visceral adiposity and omental adipocyte size in women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 25-Hydroxyvitamin D 2 / blood*
  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adipocytes / cytology*
  • Adiposity*
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Calcifediol / blood*
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Cell Size
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dairy Products
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / cytology
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Subcutaneous Fat, Abdominal / cytology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage*


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-Hydroxyvitamin D 2
  • Calcifediol