Low free 25-hydroxyvitamin D and high vitamin D binding protein and parathyroid hormone in obese Caucasians. A complex association with bone?

<div><p>Background</p><p>Studies have shown altered vitamin D metabolism in obesity. We assessed differences between obese and normal-weight subjects in total, free, and bioavailable 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D, 25(OH)D<sub>Free</sub>, and 25(OH)D<sub>Bio</sub>, respectively), vitamin D binding protein (DBP), parathyroid hormone (PTH) and bone traits.</p><p>Methods</p><p>595 37-47-year-old healthy Finnish men and women stratified by BMI were examined in this cross-sectional study. Background characteristic and intakes of vitamin D and calcium were collected. The concentrations of 25(OH)D, PTH, DBP, albumin and bone turnover markers were determined from blood. 25(OH)D<sub>Free</sub> and 25(OH)D<sub>Bio</sub> were calculated. pQCT was performed at radius and tibia.</p><p>Results</p><p>Mean±SE (ANCOVA) 25(OH)D<sub>Free</sub> (10.8±0.6 vs 12.9±0.4 nmol/L; P = 0.008) and 25(OH)D<sub>Bio</sub> (4.1±0.3 vs 5.1±0.1 nmol/L; P = 0.003) were lower in obese than in normal-weight women. In men, 25(OH)D (48.0±2.4 vs 56.4±2.0 nmol/L, P = 0.003), 25(OH)D<sub>Free</sub> (10.3±0.7 vs 12.5±0.6 pmol/L; P = 0.044) and 25(OH)D<sub>Bio</sub> (4.2±0.3 vs 5.1±0.2 nmol/L; P = 0.032) were lower in obese. Similarly in all subjects, 25(OH)D, 25(OH)D<sub>Free</sub> and 25(OH)D<sub>Bio</sub> were lower in obese (P<0.001). DBP (399±12 vs 356±7mg/L, P = 0.008) and PTH (62.2±3.0 vs 53.3±1.9 ng/L; P = 0.045) were higher in obese than in normal-weight women. In all subjects, PTH and DBP were higher in obese (P = 0.047and P = 0.004, respectively). In obese women, 25(OH)D was negatively associated with distal radius trabecular density (R<sup>2</sup> = 0.089, P = 0.009) and tibial shaft cortical strength index (CSI) (R<sup>2</sup> = 0.146, P = 0.004). 25(OH)D<sub>Free</sub> was negatively associated with distal radius CSI (R<sup>2</sup> = 0.070, P = 0.049), radial shaft cortical density (CorD) (R<sup>2</sup> = 0.050, P = 0.045), and tibial shaft CSI (R<sup>2</sup> = 0.113, P = 0.012). 25(OH)D<sub>Bio</sub> was negatively associated with distal radius CSI (R<sup>2</sup> = 0.072, P = 0.045), radial shaft CorD (R<sup>2</sup> = 0.059, P = 0.032), and tibial shaft CSI (R<sup>2</sup> = 0.093, P = 0.024).</p><p>Conclusions</p><p>The associations between BMI and 25(OH)D, 25(OH)D<sub>Free</sub>, and 25(OH)D<sub>Bio</sub>, DBP, and PTH suggest that obese subjects may differ from normal-weight subjects in vitamin D metabolism. BMI associated positively with trabecular bone traits and CSI in our study, and slightly negatively with cortical bone traits. Surprisingly, there was a negative association of free and bioavailable 25(OH)D and some of the bone traits in obese women.</p></div>