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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Background/Aims: 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. Methods: 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. Results: 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. Conclusions: 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.

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