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Low Vitamin D Causes Fatty Liver Disease In UK Children, Study Finds

Update Date: Apr 13, 2014 10:25 PM EDT

A recent study investigating the link between low vitamin D status and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) among British children has suggested a genetic variant association with the disease's severity. 

The research analyzed the medical records of 120 pediatrics patients with NAFLD before making such conclusion. 

According to researchers, the findings might carry significant implications for UK clinicians in light of the nation's rising number of childhood NAFLD cases. High levels of vitamin D deficiency and increasing numbers of rickets cases are thought to be due to the obesity epidemic, more children increasingly choosing to play indoors rather than outside and the excessive use of sun-creams, read the release. 

"The data support recent research that revealed an association between low vitamin D status and incidence of NAFLD and is an important development in helping clinicians better understand the growing rate of NAFLD in children throughout the western world," said EASL's Educational Councillor Professor Jean-Francois Dufour of the University Clinic for Visceral Surgery and Medicine, University of Bern, Switzerland, in a press release.

"Identifying a gene that impacts or alters the disease is a step in the right direction and could potentially lead to the development of new treatments or diagnostic techniques to address this growing issue," Professor Dufour continued. "More research into this field is warranted and I look forward to seeing future developments over time."

The study further found that patients had low vitamin D blood levels throughout the entire year and not just in winter months. Detecting a variant of the NADSYN1 gene, the study concluded it was associated with NAFLD severity in patients. 

The study will be presented at the International Liver Congress 2014. 

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