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Vitamin D may reduce nonalcoholic fatty liver disease risk in healthy men

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Editor's note: Vitamin D is an important element for your life. The study, however, does not prove that high serum vitamin D is the cause for the reduced risk for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease although the possibility could not be excluded either. Having high serum vitamin D could mean that a person without NAFLD lives a healthy life, which has an overall impact on his health including his liver condition.

By Jimmy Downs

Saturday March 2, 2013 (foodconsumer.org) -- A study recently published in Endocriology Journal suggests that taking vitamin D supplements may help reduce risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is apparently healthy men, independent of metabolic syndrome.

Recent research reveals an association between serum levels of vitamin D with obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  E. J. Rhee from Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in Seoul, Korea and colleagues conducted the current study and determined the serum vitamin D level was associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in apparently healthy men.

Enrolled in the cross-sectional study were 6,567 Korean men whose blood samples were analysed for 25(OH)D3 and who were also assessed by abdominal ultrasonogram to determine whether they suffered any nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Among the participants, 43.6% were found found to have NAFLD and 21.1% were found to have metabolic syndrome. 

Serum vitamin D levels were found positively associated with age, serum calcium, and aspartate aminotransferase levels and negatively associated with total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and fasting insulin level.

Serum vitamin D levels were also found to be significantly lower in those with NAFLD, compared to those without the medical condition.  Those in the lowest tertile of serum vitamin D were found at significantly increased risk for NAFLD, compared with those in the highest tertile even after adjustment for body mass index and metabolic syndrome.

The researchers concluded "participants with higher serum 25(OH)D(3) showed a significantly reduced risk for NAFLD compared with the low 25(OH)D(3) groups, independent of obesity and metabolic syndrome."

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