Higher vitamin D levels associated with less severe disease in NAFLD patients

Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

September 27 2017. The September 2017 issue of the Journal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology published the findings of researchers at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School of a lower amount of liver steatosis (fat) and fibrosis and a decreased risk of mortality over a 19 year median among individuals withnonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) who had higher vitamin D levels.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to report vitamin D’s prognostic role in NAFLD,” authors Hun-Seok Kim and colleagues announce.

The study included 10,960 men and women enrolled in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) conducted from 1988-1994. Follow-up mortality data was collected through 2011. Ultrasound imaging of the liver revealed mild, moderate or severe NAFLD in 4,015 subjects. Deficient serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were uncovered in 4,991 subjects.

Increasing vitamin D levels were associated with decreasing liver steatosis severity. Additionally, liver fibrosis was lowest among those whose vitamin D levels were highest. Among those with deficient levels of the vitamin, the risk of dying from diabetes was more than three and a half times greater than that of nondeficient subjects and for Alzheimer’s disease, the risk was over four and a half times greater. All-cause mortality risk was 16% higher among subjects with vitamin D deficiency compared with those whose levels were not deficient.

“Only a long-term follow-up study or clinical trials in NAFLD patients with vitamin D supplements will disclose the true effect of vitamin D in NAFLD pathogenesis,” the authors remark. “Thus, further investigation is warranted to disclose a more concrete causal pathway between vitamin D and other risk factors in the pathogenesis of NAFLD.”

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