The answer is maybe! Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem in the United States and the world. New evidence is emerging that avoiding vitamin D deficiency may contribute to a reduction of obesity as well. People with excess body fat are at an increased risk of many health issues including heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Serum vitamin D as well as calcium intake are inversely related to obesity, leading to the assumption that there is a link between the two. The two main reasons for this link are:
1) Obesity can lower vitamin D levels
2) Low vitamin levels can promote obesity.
Why obese people have low vitamin D levels? Obese people may spend less time in the sun and wear clothing covering their skin and therefore produce less vitamin D.
The other reason for the low vitamin D levels is that fat tissue traps vitamin D. Research performed on rats shows that 80% of vitamin D ingested is immediately deposited into fat tissue where it is stored for future needs. Because vitamin D gets trapped in obese people, it is recommended that vitamin D dosage be increased based on the weight of the person. If an obese person loses weight, serum vitamin D rises and may assist in resistance to certain diseases.
Does low vitamin D promote obesity? The answer is yes. Research on obese students shows that calcium and vitamin D supplements causes a large reduction in body fat compared to placebo.
This research suggests that vitamin D level may play a role in weight loss and calcium and vitamin D supplements definitely has an effect on fat mass and distribution. This is why Dr. Arem’s weight loss program includes adequate supplementation with calcium and vitamin D as well supplements containing antioxidants to reverse the cycle of weight gain.