Not all vitamins are good for teens, it turns out – Palm Beach Post (blog)

So when my 15-year-old vegetarian daughter came home with news from the doctor that she had high cholesterol, my wife and I racked our brains for a reason why.

Could her diet be that bad? Sure, she probably eats too much Taco Bell – meatless, of course – but should she have the clogged arteries of a 50-year-old?


A new study found vitamin D can lead to high cholesterol in teenagers. (Photo courtesy of Creative Commons)

Well, a story in Tech Times this week gave us the answer.

Our daughter had just been prescribed vitamin D by a doctor and it turns out that supplement leads to high cholesterol in teenagers.

Dr. Seema Kumar, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center in Rochester, Minn., said doctors are mistaken that vitamin D will help teenagers because it increases levels of cholesterol and fat-harboring triglycerides.

Dr. Kumar has been researching the effects of such supplements in children for a decade and has conducted clinical trials while authoring six studies.  Vitamin D refers to a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for enhancing intestinal absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate and zinc.

Vitamin D can be obtained through sunlight and since our daughter avoids the sun like Dracula, she was deficient. Vitamin D is also often given to obese teenagers under the belief it will ward of diabetes.

Kumar has found no such benefit.

“After three months of having vitamin D boosted into the normal range with supplements, these teenagers showed no changes in body weight, body mass index, waistline, blood pressure or blood flow,” she explains.

“We’re not saying the links between vitamin D deficiency and chronic diseases don’t exist for children – we just haven’t found any yet.”

Her findings were published online Aug. 14 in the journal Pediatric Obesity.

“I have been surprised that we haven’t found more health benefit,” she says. “We’re not saying it’s bad to take vitamin D supplements at reasonable doses, and we know most obese teens are vitamin D deficient. We’re just saying the jury is still out on how useful it is for improving overall health in adolescents.”

What is of even moire concern, Kumar said, is that  vitamin D supplements are sometimes given to children by parents at five to 10 times the recommended daily amount as a popular as homeopathic treatments for obesity. This can result in a condition known as  hypervitaminosis, which can damage the kidneys.

To read the complete Tech Times story click here.


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