Think of malnutrition, and obesity probably isn’t the first health problem that springs to mind. But even though obesity obviously represents over nutrition in the caloric sense, people with obesity can still be malnourished when it comes to micronutrients.
According to studies, the prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency is 35% higher in people with obesity than in people at a normal weight. This is dangerous, because Vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for heart disease, bone loss, impaired glucose metabolism, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes, and all other kinds of chronic health problems associated with obesity. It’s also possible that Vitamin D deficiency contributes to accumulating body fat, making obesity/deficiency a vicious cycle.
Researchers have considered various reasons why obese people might be Vitamin D-deficient:
- Less sun exposure — Most people get the majority of their Vitamin D from sunlight on their skin. Obese people may be less likely to be outside with exposed skin like at the pool in a bathing suit, reducing Vitamin D absorption. However, even if you control for time spent outside, people with obesity are still more commonly Vitamin D deficient than other people.
- Body fat “stealing” Vitamin D — Through a complicated chemical process, it’s possible that excess body fat requires a lot of extra Vitamin D, which diminishes the amount available for other processes.
But that doesn’t answer the million-dollar question: in people who already have obesity, will Vitamin D supplements produce or assist in weight loss?
- One study tested it out, and concluded that there was “no significant influence of vitamin D supplementation on weight, fat mass, or waist circumference in type 2 diabetic, obese, vitamin D deficient participants of Arab ethnicity after one year.”
- One study found that in otherwise-healthy overweight and obese women, Vitamin D supplements reduced body fat mass, but not body weight.
- In another study, a Vitamin D supplement helped improve blood sugar control, but didn’t produce any weight loss.
The bottom line is that Vitamin D is very unlikely to be a weight loss wonder drug. It may improve your health, but it probably won’t make you thin.
Read more on this topic online at: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/link-between-obesity-and-vitamin-d-clarified
If you are in the Las Vegas area and are considering bariatric surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He and his team of experts can help you find the right treatment for your unique situation.