Higher levels of belly fat are associated with lower vitamin D levels in obese individuals, according to data presented in Barcelona at the European Society of Endocrinology annual meeting, ECE 2018.

The study reports that vitamin D levels are lower in individuals with higher levels of belly fat, and suggests that individuals, particularly the overweight with larger waistlines should have their vitamin D levels checked.

This preventative step is recommended to avoid any potentially health damaging effects.

A critical nutrient to help fight a global epidemic

Obesity is a global epidemic and contributes to an estimated 2.8 million deaths per year worldwide. Vitamin D deficiency is typically associated with impaired bone health but in recent years has also been linked with higher risks of acute respiratory tract infections, auto-immune diseases and cardiovascular diseases.

Low vitamin D levels could therefore have wide-ranging and undetected adverse effects, although more research is required to confirm the role of vitamin D in these conditions. A link between low vitamin D levels and obesity has previously been reported but whether this effect is more associated with the type and location of fat was undetermined.

In this study Rachida Rafiq and colleagues from the VU University Medical Center and Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands examined how the amount of total body fat and abdominal fat measured in participants of the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity Study related to their vitamin D levels.

After adjusting for a number of possible influencing factors, including chronic disease, alcohol intake and levels of physical activity, they found that the amounts of both total and abdominal fat were associated with lower vitamin D levels in women, although abdominal fat had a greater impact.

With men, on the other hand, abdominal fat and liver fat was associated with lower vitamin D levels.

In all cases the greater the amount of belly fat, the lower the levels of detected vitamin D.

Rachida Rafiq summarized: “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 deficiency, and should consider having their vitamin D levels checked.”

In addition to sunshine exposure and consumption of high-vitamin D foods, taking a dietary supplement is another viable way to raise vitamin D levels.

Optimal Longevi-D combines vitamin D with vitamin K and CoQ10 (and other nutrients) to provide a highly-synergistic blend of critical nutrients.

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Sources: ScienceDaily.com, European Society of Endocrinology.