Low serum vitamin D-status, air pollution and obesity: A dangerous liaison

Luigi Barrea, Silvia Savastano, Carolina Di Somma, Maria Cristina Savanelli, Francesca Nappi, Lidia Albanese, Francesco Orio, Annamaria Colao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this review is to provide a general overview of the possible associations among the vitamin D status, air pollution and obesity. Sunlight exposure accounts in humans for more than 90 % of the production of vitamin D. Among emerging factors influencing sunlight-induced synthesis of vitamin D, prospective and observational studies proved that air pollution constitutes an independent risk factor in the pathogenesis of vitamin D hypovitaminosis. In addition, environmental pollutants can affect risk of obesity when inhaled, in combination with unhealthy diet and lifestyle. In turn, obesity is closely associated with a low vitamin D status and many possible mechanisms have been proposed to explain this association. The associations of air pollution with low vitamin D status on the hand and with obesity on the other hand, could provide a rationale for considering obesity as a further link between air pollution and low vitamin D status. In this respect, a vicious cycle could operate among low vitamin D status, air pollution, and obesity, with additive detrimental effects on cardio-metabolic risk in obese individuals. Besides vitamin D supplementation, nutrient combination, used to maximize the protective effects against air pollution, might also contribute to improve the vitamin D status by attenuating the “obesogen” effects of air pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalReviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Sep 19 2016


  • Air pollution
  • Environmental factor
  • Nutritionist
  • Obesity
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


Dive into the research topics of 'Low serum vitamin D-status, air pollution and obesity: A dangerous liaison'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this