Belly Fat Linked to Low Vitamin D Levels, Says Study
By: Julie Hand
A new study suggests that the more weight you carry around your waist, the lower your vitamin D levels. Previous research has shown that a lack of vitamin D diminishes bone health and puts you at risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. The new findings, presented at the European Society of Endocrinology annual meeting in Barcelona, suggest that belly fat has a greater impact on vitamin D levels than overall fat.
More belly fat equals lower vitamin D levels
As part of the new study, researchers from the VU University Medical Center and Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands analyzed abdominal fat and total body fat in participants of an earlier obesity study. After adjusting for a range of factors — including chronic disease, alcohol consumption, and exercise levels — the researchers found that both total body and belly fat were linked to lower vitamin D levels in women. However, belly fat had far greater impact on vitamin D levels. In men, belly fat, as well as liver fat, was associated with lower vitamin D levels.
“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,” says lead author Rachida Rafiq.
The researchers plan to explore the link between obesity and vitamin D. Does low vitamin D predispose you to store belly fat? Or does obesity lower vitamin D levels?
“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,” says Rafiq. “However, this strong association may point to a possible role for vitamin D in abdominal fat storage and function.”
How to test your vitamin D levels
If you get a vitamin D test through your doctor, your insurance will likely pick up the bill. You can also get tested in other ways: A service like WellnessFX will deliver results to you within a week of your blood test. Regardless of what test you choose, the results will indicate your baseline vitamin D level, then you can begin to supplement if need be. Work with your doctor to figure out your dosage (how many milligrams of vitamin D you should take) depending on your specific makeup like age, weight, skin color, and amount of sun exposure. In general, your levels should be between 70-100 milligrams.
Up your vitamin D intake
At least 1 billion people worldwide have low vitamin D levels. Two of the best ways to get it are sunshine and supplementation. Aim for 20 mins a day in the sun. Sunscreen prevents skin from absorbing vitamin D, so leave some areas unexposed.
In this video, Dave explains how you can combine natural sunlight and supplements to get your vitamin D levels where they need to be.
It’s also important to take vitamin K2 with vitamin D. In a Bulletproof Radio podcast episode with Canadian natural medicine expert Kate Rhéaume-Bleue, ND, she emphasizes why it’s vital to combine the two. “We just know that vitamin D and K2 work together to optimize your calcium metabolism and make sure that calcium’s getting into the right places. D helps you absorb calcium. K2 puts it into the right places.” Calcium absorption is one way vitamin D (and K2) support bone health. It’s also the reason why these two vitamins — combined with vitamin A – comprise the new Bulletproof supplement Vitamins A-D-K. This combination works together to support your bones, heart, and immune system.