Modest reversal of metabolic syndrome manifestations with vitamin D status correction: a 12-month prospective study

Metabolism. 2012 May;61(5):661-6. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2011.09.017. Epub 2011 Nov 8.


Numerous cross-sectional studies have noted significant negative associations between circulating levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D and cardiometabolic risk factors, highlighting potential extraskeletal functions of this sterol hormone. Prospective studies, however, have been limited; and hence, no cause-and-effect relations can be inferred. This study aims to determine whether vitamin D status correction can reverse already established manifestations of the metabolic syndrome (MetS). A total of 59 adult nondiabetic, overweight, and obese Saudis (31 male, 28 female) were prospectively enrolled in this 1-year interventional study. Anthropometry and biochemical evaluation were performed, including determination of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, calcium, and phosphorous concentrations, as well as fasting blood glucose and lipid profile. Subjects were advised to regularly expose themselves to sunlight and increase intake of vitamin D-rich foods. All measurements were repeated 6 and 12 months later. At the initial baseline visit, the prevalence of both low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and hypertension was significantly increased among patients with 25-vitamin D deficiency (P < .05), even after adjusting for sex and body mass index. Overall prevalence of MetS patients by the modified National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Adult Treatment Panel III definition decreased from 25.2% to 13.0%; and this was largely due to a parallel decrease in the prevalence of low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and hypertension. Optimization of vitamin D status through sun exposure and increased intake of a vitamin D-rich diet can lead to an improved cardiometabolic profile, offering a promising nonpharmacologic approach in the prevention of MetS manifestations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthropometry
  • Arabs
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diet therapy
  • Metabolic Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / complications
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Sunlight
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / diet therapy
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / drug therapy*
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use*
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Triglycerides
  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D