Obesity Reduces Serum Vitamin D Levels
British researchers report that a significant increase in body mass index (BMI, a measure of body fat based on height and weight) could lead to a drop in serum vitamin D levels. They found that the link between obesity and vitamin D levels affects people of all ages and genders. However, the authors of the study, which was recently published in the journal PLoS Medicine, state that vitamin D deficiency does not affect BMI significantly.
Lead investigator Dr. Elina Hypponen, of University College London’s Institute of Child Health and colleagues note that previous studies have suggested the link between vitamin D deficiency and obesity, although it was not clear which one led to the other. The results of their study showed that an increase in BMI by 10% is linked to a 4% reduction of vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D, also called the sunshine vitamin because exposure to sunlight triggers its synthesis in the skin, is essential for maintaining bone health as well as supporting many body functions. It can also be obtained from foods and dietary supplements. Studies suggest that a deficiency in this vitamin is linked to certain chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Hypponen says that vitamin D deficiency is often associated with lack of sun exposure, but their findings suggest that it may also be caused by obesity.
The study did not demonstrate a cause-and-effect relationship between vitamin D deficiency and obesity and more research is needed to explore the effects of increasing BMI on lowered circulating vitamin D.
Vitamin D Loss Attributed to Obesity. HealthDay News.