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Pesticides linked to vitamin D deficiency

Posted on: January 31, 2012   by  Vitamin D Council


A recent study found that pesticides could be decreasing people’s vitamin D levels. Research published in PloSONE this month found that people with high serum concentrations of organochlorine pesticides such as DDT have low serum vitamin D levels.

Previous field and animal studies have suggested a link between persistent pesticide exposure with vitamin D deficiency, but no human studies have confirmed these findings.

Low dose organochlorine (OC) pesticides have been strongly linked to chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome.

The US-Korean research team studied 1275 adults over the age of 20 currently enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2003-2004.

The researchers selected 7 different OC pesticides that were detectable in ≥80% of the participants. Three of the pesticides, including DDT, showed a significant inverse association with vitamin D levels. When the participants were stratified by confounding factors such as age, rage, and BMI, DDT showed consistent inverse association in all groups.

The authors point out that there could be other chemicals which influence vitamin D levels, something which should be examined in future research. They conclude:

“Considering the importance of vitamin D deficiency in the development of chronic diseases,m chemical exposure as a possible cause of vitamin D deficiency should be evaluated in prospective and experimental studies.”


Yang J, et al. Associations between organochlorine pesticides and vitamin D deficiency in the US population. PLOSone. Jan 2012.

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