When it comes to Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), it can be caused by many factors. Some of those causes are believed to include old age, brain injury or decreased muscle tone. However, does a lack of Vitamin D have an effect on OSA?

The Truth About Vitamin D Deficiency

Hypovitaminosis D, or Vitamin D deficiency, is typically found in people who lack an adequate amount of Vitamin D in their system, and/or do not get enough exposure to sunlight. Other causes include disorders and conditions that prevent the body from getting or properly processing Vitamin D into the body.

This is a serious condition with plenty of symptoms and diagnoses, including:

  • Rickets, a childhood disease that impedes growth and deformity of long bones,
  • Osteomalacia, a bone-thinning disorder which causes muscle weakness and bone fragility,
  • Osteoporosis, a disease which decreased bone strength, leading to broken bones,
  • Muscle twitching,
  • Light-headedness, and
  • Erectile dysfunction.

However, a new study published online in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society finds there is no evidence linking Vitamin D deficiency to OSA.

“Although our study was not designed to figure out why obese people have lower vitamin D levels, our results ultimately suggest that low Vitamin D levels do not cause or worsen OSA,” said senior investigator Ken Kunisaki, MD, MS, Medical Director of the Sleep Apnea Program at the Minneapolis VA and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota.  “Therefore, taking additional Vitamin D supplements is not likely to prevent or improve OSA.”

Instead, researchers discovered there is more of a link between obesity and Vitamin D deficiency.

“The link between obesity and Vitamin D deficiency can be explained a number ways, one of which is that obese individuals are less likely to be physically active, thereby limiting their sun exposure,” said Dr. Kunisaki.

In the study, the researchers analyzed 2,827 generally healthy, mostly Caucasian (92.2%), elderly males (average age 76.4 years). The data they received from these participants found that there was no evidence to support a link between Vitamin D deficiency and increased risk of OSA in those without obesity.