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Association between vitamin D and adiponectin

Posted on: October 20, 2011   by  John Cannell, MD


Adiponectin is a peptide hormone secreted by fat tissue that is associated with favorable cardio-metabolic profiles. The hormone plays a role in better outcomes in type 2 diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis and NAFLD. That is, the higher your adiponectin, the better your health.

In July 2011, Dr. Anand Vaidya and colleagues at Harvard University analyzed two large groups of Americans to discover that the higher your vitamin D level, the higher your adiponectin. Previous studies had found the association, but the Harvard group was able to correct for all known potential confounders and still found a strong positive relationship.

Vaidya A, Williams JS, Forman JP. The Independent Association Between 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Adiponectin and Its Relation With BMI in Two Large Cohorts: The NHS and the HPFS. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Jul 14. doi: 10.1038/oby.2011.210. [Epub ahead of print]

This was a cross-sectional study, so their study can’t tell us if vitamin D is increasing adiponectin, if adiponectin is increasing vitamin D, or if a third unidentified factor is increasing both. However, I’d bet the ranch that future controlled trials will find that adequate doses of vitamin D (around 10,000 IU/day as the subjects will be obese) will increase adiponectin levels.

If you are obese, remember that 5,000 IU/day is probably not an adequate dose of vitamin D, at least for the first year or two. Sometimes very obese patients need 10,000 IU/day just to obtain vitamin D levels of 40-60 ng/ml. People on such a dosage need to have vitamin D levels checked twice a year to be sure that their vitamin D levels do not precipitously raise on such a dose.

I also bet that obese people supplementing with 10,000 IU/day will notice a slow but steady reduction in their weight. If that has been your experience, or if such supplementation has had no effect on your weight, I’d like to hear from you. I can’t promise that I will reply to all responses, but I’d much like to try.

3 Responses to Association between vitamin D and adiponectin

  1. hmcdow

    Regarding Vit D and obesity. My personal experience on 5000 IU/day even with co-factors for over 3 years, still led to a Vit D level of 17 ng/ml, much to my surprise. The problem was due to malabsorption and with supplementation of a probiotic blend, the Vit D levels were corrected within a year to 54 ng/ml and have been stable ever since. Interestingly, having already lost 70 pounds and now of normal weight, I was still carrying around a bit of excess body fat. Over the course of the same year, I lost 10% body fat and 5 more pounds. Metabolically, this would make sense, with improved absorption of both calcium & Vit D and the improved hormone signaling of Insulin, Cortisol & Leptin. Aside from myself, I am seeing them same help with fat loss, with my clients on 4000-5000 IU supplementation a day with a probiotic blend, high fiber diet and better Insulin control.

  2. [email protected]

    Please specify the probiotic blend you employed and why you think that corrected the malabsorption. Thank you.

    • Brant Cebulla

      I am also curious about this.

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