Vitamin D has been repeatedly linked to weight loss by research.
People with high levels of vitamin D typically lose more weight overall and lose more abdominal or ‘belly’ fat.
One reason for the beneficial effect of vitamin D may be its link to the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Serotonin can affect everything from sleep to mood.
High levels of vitamin D may also suppress the storage of fat.
In contrast, having low levels of vitamin D in the body is linked to the storing of fat.
That is the finding of one study of 90 young women from California.
Their vitamin D levels were tested, along with their weight and body fat measurements.
The results showed that vitamin D deficiency was linked to being shorter and heavier.
Dr Richard Kremer, the study’s first author, said:
“The high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency in young people living in a sun-rich area was surprising.
We found young women with vitamin D insufficiency were significantly heavier, with a higher body mass index and increased abdominal fat, than young women with normal levels.”
Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases and a higher chance of getting colds.
Foods that are rich in vitamin D include oily fish and eggs, but most people get their vitamin D from the action of sunlight on the skin.
Dr. Vicente Gilsanz, study co-author, said:
“Clinicians need to identify vitamin D levels in younger adults who are at risk by using a simple and useful blood test.
Because lack of vitamin D can cause fat accumulation and increased risk for chronic disorders later in life, further investigation is needed to determine whether vitamin D supplements could have potential benefits in the healthy development of young people.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (Kremer et al., 2008).