Vitamin D in polycystic ovary syndrome: Relationship to obesity and insulin resistance

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Scope: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is underpinned by insulin resistance (IR). In PCOS, the relationships between vitamin D, adiposity, and IR are unclear. We aim to explore these relationships in lean and overweight women with PCOS. Methods and results: This is a cross-sectional study conducted in a tertiary medical center. Participants included 42 women with PCOS and 34 controls without PCOS. Vitamin D and metabolic markers were measured. Detailed body composition and gold standard hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamps were performed. The main outcome measures were plasma levels of vitamin D, adiposity measures, and glucose infusion rate. Vitamin D levels were lower in overweight women with PCOS compared with overweight controls (31.6 and 46.1 nmol/L, respectively, p = 0.01). Vitamin D was not associated with IR after adjustment for confounders; however, there was a significant interaction between PCOS and percentage body fat. Further analysis by PCOS status revealed that vitamin D was associated with IR in the PCOS group (β coefficient 2.1, 95 CI 0.2-4.0, p = 0.03), but not in the non-PCOS group. Conclusion: Vitamin D is associated with IR in women with PCOS, but not in controls. Large intervention studies are needed to determine if vitamin D supplementation can improve IR in PCOS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-118
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Nutrition & Food Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


  • Insulin resistance
  • Obesity
  • PCOS
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Vitamin D

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