Vitamin D deficiency linked to fatty liver disease, study finds

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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common liver disease characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver in people who do not consume excessive amounts of alcohol.

It is a growing health concern worldwide, with a prevalence of up to 25% in the general population and up to 80% in obese individuals.

NAFLD is associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and liver cancer.

Vitamin D is a hormone synthesized in the skin when exposed to sunlight and can also be obtained from dietary sources.

It is essential for maintaining calcium and phosphorus homeostasis, bone mineralization, and overall health.

Studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of several chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

In recent years, there has been increasing interest in the role of vitamin D in NAFLD.

To test the link between vitamin D levels and NAFLD, researchers conducted a study over 1.5 years at a tertiary care hospital in northern India.

The study involved 100 adult patients with NAFLD who were admitted to the emergency ward, intensive care unit, and medical ward.

The team showed that 45.0%, 16.0%, and 39.0% of patients had vitamin D deficiency, insufficiency, and sufficiency, respectively.

The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was highest among patients aged 41-50 years and lowest among those aged 30-40 years.

Interestingly, patients who were overweight were more likely to have vitamin D deficiency (91.7%) than those with a normal body mass index (39.1%).

The study also found a big association between the severity of vitamin D deficiency and the presence of hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, and ascites.

These findings suggest that vitamin D deficiency may be associated with more severe forms of NAFLD.

The incidence of fatty liver among patients was 49%, and there was a significant correlation between fatty liver and serum vitamin D levels.

Patients with fatty liver were more likely to have lower vitamin D levels than those without fatty liver.

The degree of vitamin D deficiency was also found to be strongly associated with the proportion of patients with fatty liver and insulin resistance.

The findings of this study suggest that vitamin D deficiency may be associated with an increased risk of NAFLD, as well as the severity of the disease.

Therefore, maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D may be important in preventing and managing NAFLD.

Further studies are needed to explore the potential therapeutic benefits of vitamin D supplementation for patients with NAFLD.

In conclusion, this study provides valuable insights into the association between vitamin D levels and NAFLD.

The findings highlight the importance of maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D for overall health and the prevention and management of NAFLD.

As vitamin D deficiency is a modifiable risk factor, interventions aimed at increasing vitamin D levels may represent a promising strategy for reducing the burden of NAFLD.

Further research is needed to determine the optimal dosage of vitamin D supplementation and its potential role in the prevention and treatment of NAFLD.

The research was published in Cureus (10.7759/cureus.34921) and was conducted by Manoj Kumar et al.

If you care about liver health, please read studies about dairy foods linked to liver cancer, and coffee drinkers may halve their risk of liver cancer.

For more information about liver health, please see recent studies that an anti-inflammatory diet could help prevent fatty liver disease, and results showing vitamin D could help prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

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