Online Program

Association of vitamin D deficiency with high cholesterol levels

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Eunice Mogusu, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN
Shimin Zheng, PhD, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, East Tennessee State University College of Public Health, Johnson City, TN
Sreenivas P. Veeranki, MBBS, DrPH, Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
David Kioko, MPH, Department of Health Services Management and Policy, College of Public Health, East Tennessee State University, Johnson, TN
Megan Ashley Quinn, DrPH, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN

Recent studies have demonstrated a significant relationship between vitamin D and cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is important in the synthesis and metabolism of vitamin D. Additionally, foods rich in vitamin D also contain high cholesterol supplements. Given that sources of vitamin D and cholesterol are different, we hypothesized that there is a potential mean bias in true relationship between an individual’s vitamin D and cholesterol levels. The study therefore aimed to examine the relationship of serum cholesterol and vitamin D levels.


We utilized NHANES 2001-2006 data (n=30,954). The outcome was vitamin D deficiency defined as individuals with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level<12 ng/ml, while those with serum level >12 ng/ml were classified as normal. Significant differences in cholesterol levels between the two groups were determined using Chi-Square contingency test.  Generalized linear models were conducted to assess the association of vitamin D deficiency with cholesterol levels adjusting for age, sex, physical activity (proxy measure for sunlight exposure) and other serum lipid levels.


Vitamin D deficiency was significantly lower in males(5.2%) than females(7.8%)(P<0.0001), and participants aged ≤18 years relative to other age categories(P<0.0001). Compared to individuals with normal vitamin D levels, deficient individuals had higher levels of Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL)(P=0.0033) and Triglycerides (P=0.0245). No significant differences were identified in total cholesterol and High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) levels.


Vitamin D deficiency was associated with high LDL and triglyceride levels. Study findings help establish the importance of distinguishing vitamin D and cholesterol levels as separate entities while making inferences about their relationship with chronic diseases.

Learning Areas:

Biostatistics, economics
Chronic disease management and prevention
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Assess the relationship of serum cholesterol and vitamin D levels Compare the various demographic and socio-economic variables in relation to serum cholesterol and vitamin D levels Identify the various cholesterol classification levels

Keyword(s): Vitamins, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the lead author of the manuscript and have contributed in the design of the content. With my current MPH concentration in Biostatistics, I have acquired commendable skills in both qualitative and quantitative research. I have a solid background in statistics, coupled with meritorious skills in applying various statistical software. I have a passion for research and the application of statistics in analyzing the diverse issues of nutrition and health, both locally and internationally
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.