To investigate the association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) independent of visceral obesity in Koreans and to examine whether the associations differ according to the presence of diabetes or insulin resistance.
Research Design and Methods
A total of 1081 adults were enrolled from a population-based cohort in Ansan city. Serum 25(OH)D concentrations were measured in all subjects. Insulin resistance was measured by homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). Using computed tomography, NAFLD was diagnosed if the liver attenuation index (LAI, the difference between the mean hepatic and splenic attenuation) was <5 Hounsfield Units.
In subjects with diabetes (n = 282), 25(OH)D levels were negatively associated with waist circumference, fasting insulin, HOMA-IR, triglyceride levels, and visceral abdominal fat, and were positively associated with LAI after adjusting for age, sex, season, exercise, and vitamin supplementation. In subjects without diabetes, only triglyceride level was negatively associated with 25(OH)D. The adjusted odds ratio (OR) for NAFLD increased sequentially across decreasing quartiles of 25(OH)D in subjects with diabetes even after adjusting for visceral fat [Q1 vs. Q4; OR for NAFLD 2.5 (95% CI:1.0–6.2)]. In contrast, no significant difference in OR was observed in subjects without diabetes. When we classified non-diabetic subjects by HOMA-IR, an increase in the OR for NAFLD across decreasing quartiles of 25(OH)D was observed in the high HOMA-IR (≥2.5) group [n = 207, Q1 vs. Q4; OR 3.8(1.4–10.3)], but not in the low HOMA-IR (<2.5) group [n = 592, OR 0.8 (0.3–1.9)].
Low vitamin D status is closely associated with NAFLD, independent of visceral obesity in subjects with diabetes or insulin resistance.