Vitamin D3 increases in abdominal subcutaneous fat tissue after supplementation with vitamin D3

Eur J Endocrinol. 2015 Mar;172(3):235-41. doi: 10.1530/EJE-14-0870.


Objective: The objective was to assess the amount of vitamin D3 stored in adipose tissue after long-term supplementation with high dose vitamin D3.

Design: A cross-sectional study on 29 subjects with impaired glucose tolerance who had participated in a randomized controlled trial with vitamin D3 20 000 IU (500 μg) per week vs placebo for 3-5 years.

Methods: Abdominal subcutaneous fat tissue was obtained by needle biopsy for the measurements of vitamin D3 and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3). Body fat was measured with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, and serum 25(OH)D3 level was quantified.

Results: In the subjects given vitamin D3, the median concentrations of serum 25(OH)D3, fat vitamin D3, and fat 25(OH)D3 were 99 nmol/l, 209 ng/g, and 3.8 ng/g, respectively; and correspondingly in the placebo group 62 nmol/l, 32 ng/g, and 2.5 ng/g. If assuming an equal amount of vitamin D3 stored in all adipose tissue in the body, the median body store was 6.6 mg vitamin D3 and 0.12 mg 25(OH)D3 in those given vitamin D3.

Conclusions: Subcutaneous adipose tissue may store large amounts of vitamin D3. The clinical importance of this storage needs to be determined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Calcifediol / blood
  • Calcifediol / metabolism
  • Cholecalciferol / blood
  • Cholecalciferol / metabolism*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Subcutaneous Fat, Abdominal / chemistry*
  • Subcutaneous Fat, Abdominal / metabolism*


  • Cholecalciferol
  • Calcifediol