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Vitamin D deficiency linked with excess body fat

1 April 2010

An American study has found a strong correlation between vitamin D levels and weight among young women.

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Could low vitamin D lead to greater body fat, or could higher body fat put you at risk of a vitamin D deficiency? Either could be possible, say researchers from universities in California who discovered heavier young women showed lower levels of the ‘sunshine vitamin'.

With the results published in last month's edition of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology And Metabolism, the researchers studied vitamin D levels in 90 women aged 16-22.

59 per cent were found deficient – a surprising result for such a sun-rich state. This group were described as "significantly heavier and with a greater body mass than women with normal levels" of vitamin D.

"It is possible that vitamin D is an independent predictor of weight gain," wrote researchers.

Two explanations were likely to explain the correlation, they believed:

  • Vitamin D has been shown to lower leptin concentrations and may contribute to the maintenance of body fat
  • Body fat may constrict the circulation of vitamin D levels by trapping the vitamin in fat tissues

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