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Clin Mol Hepatol. 2016 Mar;22(1):146-151. English. Original Article.
Chung GE , Kim D , Kwak MS , Yang JI , Yim JY , Lim SH , Itani M .
Department of Internal Medicine, Healthcare Research Institute, Gangnam Healthcare Center, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA.
Pulmonary and Critical Care Consultant, Sheikh Khalifa Specialty Hospital, Ras AlKhaimah, UAE.

BACKGROUND/AIMS: A low vitamin D level has been associated with metabolic syndrome and diabetes. However, an association between a low vitamin D level and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has not yet been definitively established. This study aimed to characterize the relationship between a vitamin D level and NAFLD in Korea. METHODS: A cross-sectional study involving 6,055 health check-up subjects was conducted. NAFLD was diagnosed on the basis of typical ultrasonographic findings and a history of alcohol consumption. RESULTS: The subjects were aged 51.7±10.3 years (mean±SD) and 54.7% were female. NAFLD showed a significant inverse correlation with the vitamin D level after adjusting for age and sex [odds ratio (OR)=0.85, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.75-0.96]. The age- and sex-adjusted prevalence of NAFLD decreased steadily with increasing vitamin D level [OR=0.74, 95% CI=0.60-0.90, lowest quintile (≤14.4 ng/mL) vs highest quintile (≥28.9 ng/mL), p for trend <0.001]. Multivariate regression analysis after adjusting for other metabolic factors revealed that NAFLD showed a significant inverse correlation with both the vitamin D level (>20 ng/mL) [OR=0.86, 95% CI=0.75-0.99] and the quintiles of the vitamin D level in a dose-dependent manner (p for trend=0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The serum level of vitamin D, even when within the normal range, was found to be inversely correlated with NAFLD in a dose-dependent manner. Vitamin D was found to be inversely correlated with NAFLD independent of known metabolic risk factors. These findings suggest that vitamin D exerts protective effects against NAFLD.

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