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Hepatology. 2013 Sep;58(3):1166-74. doi: 10.1002/hep.26390. Epub 2013 Jul 29.

Vitamin D and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD): is it more than just an association?

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Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA.


Vitamin D is a secosteroid with known effects on calcium homeostasis that has recently been shown to have other significant functions regarding immune modulation, cell differentiation and proliferation, and the inflammatory response. As our understanding of the many functions of vitamin D has grown, the presence of vitamin D deficiency (VDD) has become more evident in Western populations. Concomitantly, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become the most common cause of chronic liver disease. NAFLD and VDD are often found together, and while this is not unexpected, given their similar associations with obesity and sedentary lifestyle, a growing body of evidence points to a closely linked and potentially causative relationship between VDD and NAFLD. The epidemiologic association between VDD and NAFLD as well as the role of VDD in the pathogenesis of NAFLD and the available evidence on the clinical utility of vitamin D replacement in NAFLD populations are discussed.

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