Obesity Can Lower Vitamin D Levels

mid section view of a man sitting on a bench in a park

It’s long been known that many of us suffer from low levels of Vitamin D, which can have an adverse effect on our health.  A recent study has added obesity to the list of factors that can cause Vitamin D levels to be low.

The report from PLOS Medicine concluded that each 10% increase in BMI will lead to a 4.2% decrease in Vitamin D concentrations.  Obesity does not affect the skin’s capacity to synthesize vitamin D, but the theory is that greater amounts of subcutaneous fat sequester more of the vitamin and alter its release into the circulation.

BMI stands for Body Mass Index, and is a common measurement used to determine obesity.  BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by their height in meters squared.  Obesity is defined as having a BMI greater than 30kg/meters squared.   Although there is a genetic contribution to obesity, people generally become obese by consuming food and drink that contains more energy than they need for their daily activities.

Vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones as well as other functions, is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. It is also produced endogenously when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis.

Serum concentration of 25(OH)D is the best indicator of vitamin D status. It reflects vitamin D produced cutaneously and that obtained from food and supplements and has a fairly long circulating half-life of 15 days.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), there is considerable discussion of the serum concentrations of 25(OH)D associated with deficiency (e.g., rickets), adequacy for bone health, and optimal overall health. Based on its review of data of vitamin D needs, a committee of the Institute of Medicine concluded that persons are at risk of vitamin D deficiency at serum 25(OH)D concentrations <30 nmol/L. Some are potentially at risk for inadequacy at levels ranging from 30–50 nmol/L. Practically all people are sufficient at levels ≥50 nmol/L; the committee stated that 50 nmol/L is the serum 25(OH)D level that covers the needs of 97.5% of the population. Serum concentrations >125 nmol/L are associated with potential adverse effects.

The PLOS study concluded that these findings suggest that population-level interventions to reduce obesity should lead to a reduction in the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and highlight the importance of monitoring and treating vitamin D deficiency as a means of alleviating the adverse influences of obesity on health.

If you’re looking for a sensible way to lose weight and regain your optimal health, give us a call – we can help!

Be Well


Source:  plosmedicine.org; nih.gov

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