Korean J Fam Pract.  2021 Dec;11(6):464-471. 10.21215/kjfp.2021.11.6.464.

Association between Vitamin D Status and Carotid Atherosclerosis in Korean Adults

  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea


 Vitamin D is known to inhibit atherosclerosis through several mechanisms. This study aimed to analyze the association between vitamin D and carotid arteriosclerosis in Korean adults.  Methods: In this study, 3,495 adults who underwent vitamin D tests and carotid ultrasonography during their medical checkups between January 1, 2015 to July 31, 2020 were enrolled. After dividing them into three groups according to their vitamin D levels, deficiency (<20 ng/mL) insufficiency (≥20, <30 ng/mL) sufficiency (≥30 ng/mL), a multivariable analysis was conducted. Additionally, we conducted a subgroup analysis using visceral obesity in 1,991 adults who had received visceral fat CT scans.
There was no statistically significant difference between the level of vitamin D (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.80–1.19; P=0.84) and carotid atherosclerosis (95% CI, 0.80–1.20; P=0.90). In addition, there was no statistical significance between the vitamin D-deficient groups in terms of carotid artery thickness or carotid plaque risk. However, in obese men with a visceral fat cross-sectional area of 100 cm 2 or more, calculated by visceral fat CT scans, the risk of carotid plaque in the vitamin D-deficient group increased by 1.59 times (95% CI, 1.01–2.48; P=0.04). There was, however, no statistically significant difference with regard to carotid artery thickness of plaque in non-obese men (95% CI, 0.21–1.20; P=0.12).
Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of carotid atherosclerotic plaque in men with visceral fat obesity, calculated by visceral fat CT scans. When conducting a study with obesity as a control variable, more attention should be paid to the cross-sectional area of visceral fat.


Vitamin D; Carotid Atherosclerosis; Atherosclerotic Plaque; Visceral Fat
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