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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

The beneficial role of vitamin D in obesity: possible genetic and cell signaling mechanisms

Khanh vinh quốc Lương* and Lan Thi Hoàng Nguyễn

Author Affiliations

Vietnamese American Medical Research Foundation, 14971 Brookhurst Street, Westminster, CA 92683, USA

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Nutrition Journal 2013, 12:89  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-89

Published: 25 June 2013

Abstract

The prevalence rates of overweight and obesity are considered an important public issue in the United States, and both of these conditions are increasing among both children and adults. There is evidence of aberrations in the vitamin D-endocrine system in obese subjects. Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in patients with obesity, and many studies have demonstrated the significant effect of calcitriol on adipocytes. Genetic studies have provided an opportunity to determine which proteins link vitamin D to obesity pathology, including the vitamin D receptor, toll-like receptors, the renin-angiotensin system, apolipoprotein E, vascular endothelial growth factor, and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1. Vitamin D also exerts its effect on obesity through cell-signaling mechanisms, including matrix metalloproteinases, mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways, the reduced form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate, prostaglandins, reactive oxygen species, and nitric oxide synthase.

In conclusion, vitamin D may have a role in obesity. The best form of vitamin D for use in the obese individuals is calcitriol because it is the active form of the vitamin D3 metabolite, its receptors are present in adipocytes, and modulates inflammatory cytokine expression.