Larger waistlines are linked to higher risk of vitamin D deficiency

May 21, 2018, European Society of Endocrinology

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, to avoid any potentially health damaging effects.

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 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 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. However, in men abdominal fat and liver fat, was associated with lower vitamin D levels. In all cases the greater the amount of , the lower the levels of detected vitamin D.

Rachida Rafiq comments, "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."

The researchers now plan to investigate what may underlie this strong association between vitamin D levels and obesity—whether a lack of vitamin D is predisposing individuals to store fat, or whether increased fat levels are decreasing vitamin D levels is not yet clear. However, this research points to a more important role for abdominal fat in the relationship, and a place to focus future studies on.

As Rachida Rafiq says, "Due to the observational nature of this study, we cannot draw a conclusion on the direction or cause of the association between obesity and vitamin D levels. However, this strong association may point to a possible role for D in abdominal fat storage and function."

Explore further: Research finds vitamin D is important for respiratory health

More information: Abstract OC6.5: Associations of different body fat deposits with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations

Related Stories

Research finds vitamin D is important for respiratory health

January 25, 2018
A new study carried out by The University of Western Australia, the Busselton Health Study and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital has found vitamin D deficiency can contribute to poor respiratory functioning and health in middle-aged ...

Certain factors affect vitamin D levels in children with chronic kidney disease

June 16, 2016
Researchers have identified certain modifiable and non-modifiable factors associated with vitamin D deficiency in children with chronic kidney disease (CKD). The findings, which appear in an upcoming issue of the Clinical ...

Vitamin D deficiency may compromise immune function

February 25, 2014
Older individuals who are vitamin D deficient also tend to have compromised immune function, according to new research accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

Vitamin D deficiency increases risk of chronic headache

January 4, 2017
Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of chronic headache, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. The findings were published in Scientific Reports.

Low levels of vitamin D are associated with mortality in older adults

October 2, 2012
Low levels of vitamin D and high levels of parathyroid hormone are associated with increased mortality in African American and Caucasian older adults, according to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's ...

Low vitamin D linked to dry eye syndromes

February 10, 2016
(HealthDay)—Vitamin D deficiency is associated with dry eye and impaired tear function, according to a study published in the January issue of the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.

Recommended for you

Engineered enzyme eliminates nicotine addiction in preclinical tests

October 17, 2018
Oct. 17, 2018—Scientists at Scripps Research have successfully tested a potential new smoking-cessation treatment in rodents.

Self-lubricating latex could boost condom use: study

October 17, 2018
A perpetually unctuous, self-lubricating latex developed by a team of scientists in Boston could boost the use of condoms, they reported Wednesday in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

How healthy will we be in 2040?

October 17, 2018
A new scientific study of forecasts and alternative scenarios for life expectancy and major causes of death in 2040 shows all countries are likely to experience at least a slight increase in lifespans. In contrast, one scenario ...

Study finds evidence of intergenerational transmission of trauma among ex-POWs from the Civil War

October 16, 2018
A trio of researchers affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research has found evidence that suggests men who were traumatized while POWs during the U.S. Civil War transmitted that trauma to their offspring—many ...

Father's nicotine use can cause cognitive problems in children and grandchildren

October 16, 2018
A father's exposure to nicotine may cause cognitive deficits in his children and even grandchildren, according to a study in mice publishing on October 16 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Pradeep Bhide of Florida ...

Many supplements contain unapproved, dangerous ingredients: study

October 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—U.S. health officials have issued more than 700 warnings during the last decade about the sale of dietary supplements that contain unapproved and potentially dangerous drug ingredients, new research reveals.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.