Obesity 'can lead to lack of vitamin D'

6 February 2013

Obesity can lead to a vitamin D deficiency in the body, a study has found.

Researchers from University College London's (UCL) Institute of Child Health found that a ten per cent rise in body mass index (BMI) was linked to a four per cent drop in concentrations of vitamin D.

The team, who analysed genetic data from 21 studies -  a total of 42,000 people, say efforts to tackle obesity should focus on reducing vitamin D deficiency in people who are overweight.

Because vitamin D is stored in fatty tissue, the study authors suggest the most likely reason that obesity drives down levels is because a larger storage capacity in obese people may prevent it from circulating in the bloodstream.

Dr Elina Hypponen, from the UCL Institute of Child Health and the lead author of the study, said: "Vitamin D deficiency is an active health concern around the world. While many health messages have focused on a lack of sun exposure or excessive use of suncreams, we should not forget that vitamin D deficiency is also caused by obesity."

Most vitamin D is made in the skin after exposure to the sun. The vitamin has a number of important functions, including regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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