Mobilising vitamin D from adipose tissue: The potential impact of exercise

Aaron Hengist, Oliver Perkin, Javier Gonzalez, James Betts, Martin Hewison, Konstantinos Manolopoulos, Kerry Jones, Albert Koulman, Dylan Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (SciVal)


Vitamin D is lipophilic and accumulates substantially in adipose tissue. Even without supplementation, the amount of vitamin D in the adipose of a typical adult is equivalent to several months of the daily reference nutrient intake (RNI). Paradoxically, despite the large amounts of vitamin D located in adipose tissue, individuals with obesity are often vitamin D deficient according to consensus measures of vitamin D status (serum 25‐hydroxyvitamin D concentrations). Thus, it appears that vitamin D can become ‘trapped’ in adipose tissue, potentially due to insufficient lipolytic stimulation and/or due to tissue dysfunction/adaptation resulting from adipose expansion. Emerging evidence suggests that exercise may mobilise vitamin D from adipose (even in the absence of weight loss). If exercise helps to mobilise vitamin D from adipose tissue, then this could have important ramifications for practitioners and policymakers regarding the management of low circulating levels of vitamin D, as well as chronically low levels of physical activity, obesity and associated health conditions. This perspective led us to design a study to examine the impact of exercise on vitamin D status, vitamin D turnover and adipose tissue vitamin D content (the VitaDEx project). The VitaDEx project will determine whether increasing physical activity (via exercise) represents a potentially useful strategy to mobilise vitamin D from adipose tissue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-35
Number of pages11
JournalNutrition Bulletin
Issue number1
Early online date3 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • 25(OH)D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D
  • adipose
  • exercise
  • physical activity
  • vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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