Higher levels of vitamin D are linked to more weight loss, research finds.
People who are dieting have been shown to lose 20 pounds more when they have high vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D at higher levels in the body is also associated with burning belly fat.
The conclusions come from a study of 4,421 people whose total body fat and belly fat was measured.
Across men and women, higher vitamin D levels were linked to less belly fat, the results showed.
However, women with higher vitamin D levels also had less total body fat.
One reason for the beneficial effect of vitamin D may be its connection with the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Serotonin can affect everything from sleep to mood.
High levels of vitamin D may suppress the storage of fat.
Over half the people in the world may be deficient in vitamin D.
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.
That is why levels are typically lower in the body through the winter months in more Northern climes.
Dr Rachida Rafiq, the study’s first author, said:
“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 study does not prove causation, though, Dr Rafiq explained:
“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 vitamin D in abdominal fat storage and function.”
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 Clinical Nutrition (Rafiq et al., 2018).