A recent study has revealed that individuals with higher levels of belly fat are more likely to have low levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble secosteroid produced in our skin when we come in contact with sunlight, and it plays numerous roles in the human body.
According to recent studies, researchers have found that vitamin D might help protect against heart failure, diabetes, and cancer, and have also found that a vitamin D deficiency can lead to hair loss.
Insufficient vitamin D has traditionally been linked to bone health, but it might also have a connection to respiratory tract infections and autoimmune disease, among others.
More than 40 percent of the U.S. population has been found to be vitamin D deficient. There are some authors who have referred to the deficiency as an ignored epidemic, estimating that over 1 billion people worldwide have low levels of vitamin D.
Understand Vitamin D Deficiency
Since vitamin D appears to have an important connection to numerous health benefits and conditions, researchers are dedicating more time to understanding the effects of the deficiency and how to prevent it, as it may have a considerable impact on the population across the world.Related: Symptoms and Risk Factors of Vitamin D Deficiency
A group of researchers investigating this topic from the Netherlands VU University Medical Center and Leiden University Medical Center recently presented their findings at the European Society of Endocrinology annual meeting held in Barcelona, Spain.
The study showed a link between obesity and low vitamin D levels. The team of researchers delved deep into the type and location of fat that played a role in the study. Consequently, the team took data from the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity study that included thousands of men and women aged 45-65.
They then focused on total fat, abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (belly fat under the skin), visceral adipose tissue (fat around the organs), and hepatic fat (fat in the liver).
During the analysis, they adjusted the data for a range of potentially confounding variables, such as alcohol intake, smoking, ethnicity, education level, chronic disease, and physical activity levels.
Vitamin D and Belly Fat Expose
The group of researchers discovered that in women, both total and abdominal fat were associated with lower vitamin D levels, but abdominal fat had the greatest impact. However, low vitamin D levels in men were significantly linked with fat in the liver and abdomen. Ultimately, for both women and men, belly fat predicted lower levels of vitamin D.
“Although we did not measure vitamin D deficiency in our study, the strong relationship between increasing amounts of abdominal fat and lower levels of vitamin D suggests that individuals with larger waistlines are at a greater risk of developing a deficiency, and should consider having their vitamin D levels checked,” explained Rachida Rafiq, research team leader.
Rafiq’s next step is to understand why the relationship between the two is present. As Rafiq mentions, “Due to the observational nature of this study, we cannot draw a conclusion on the direction or cause of the association between obesity and vitamin D levels.”
The new challenge will be to find an effective solution to lessen the severity of this ongoing issue.Related: 8 Side Effects of Too Much Vitamin D and How to Get the Amount You Need