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Ann Nutr Metab. 2018;72(3):223-230. doi: 10.1159/000487272. Epub 2018 Mar 8.

Vitamin D Levels, Body Composition, and Metabolic Factors in Asian Indians: Results from the Metabolic Syndrome and Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America Pilot Study.

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Division of Endocrinology, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.
Division of Reproductive Endocrinology, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California, USA.
Division of General Internal Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.



Asian Indians have a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and metabolic syndrome. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.


We performed a cross-sectional study of 150 Asian Indians (50% male) from the San Francisco Bay Area. We assessed the association between 25-OH vitamin D (25-OHD) levels and vitamin D deficiency with body composition (anthropometric and radiographic measures) and metabolic outcomes.


In both men and women, the presence of vitamin D deficiency was associated with higher systolic (p = 0.004) and diastolic (p = 0.01) blood pressure, and fasting glucose (p = 0.01). Only in women, vitamin D deficiency status was associated with higher body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio, visceral fat area, and hepatic fat content after adjusting for age, income, and physical activity level. In women, 25-OHD was also associated with fasting glucose after adjusting for age, income, and physical activity and further adjusting for BMI and waist circumference (β -2.1, 95% CI -0.86 to -0.01, p = 0.04). This association between vitamin D deficiency and metabolic parameters was not significant in men.


A lower level of 25-OHD and vitamin D deficiency were associated with higher levels of metabolic factors among Asian Indians. Our findings suggest that 25-OHD metabolism may differ by the distribution of adipose tissue and involve previously unexplored pathways accounting for the variability in the role of vitamin D in cardiovascular disease.


25-OH Vitamin D; Asian Indians; Body composition; Cardiovascular disease; Diabetes; Metabolism

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