A new study reveals that individuals with larger waistlines and higher levels of belly fat are linked to higher risk of Vitamin D deficiency. Total and abdominal fat were associated with lower vitamin D levels in women, although abdominal fat had a greater impact. However, in men, abdominal fat and liver fat, was associated with lower vitamin D levels. In all cases the greater the amount of belly fat, the lower the levels of detected vitamin D.
Obesity is a global epidemic and contributes to an estimated 2.8 million deaths per year worldwide. Vitamin D deficiency is typically associated with impaired bone health but in recent years has also been linked to higher risks of acute respiratory tract infections, auto-immune diseases, and cardiovascular diseases.
Rachida Rafiq and his associates conducted a study to distinguish specific contributions of total body fat, abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (aSAT), visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and hepatic fat on 25(OH)D concentrations.
The study is a cross-sectional analysis of a population-based cohort study in men and women aged between 45 and 65 years. The researchers used linear regression analyses to examine associations of total body fat, aSAT, VAT (n=2441) and hepatic fat (n=1980) with serum 25(OH)D concentrations.
The study found that the total body fat was inversely associated with 25(OH)D concentrations in women, but not in men. One percent higher total body fat was associated with 0.40 nmol/L lower 25(OH)D. The VAT was inversely associated with serum 25(OH)D concentrations in both men and women. Hepatic fat was only associated with 25(OH)D in men. A tenfold increase in hepatic fat was associated with 6.21 nmol/L lower 25(OH)D. aSAT was not associated with 25(OH)D concentrations in both men and women.
The study reports that the relationship between different adiposity measures and 25(OH)D concentrations was different for men and women. In women, total body fat and VAT were inversely related to 25(OH)D concentrations. In men, VAT and hepatic fat were related to 25(OH)D concentrations. In both men and women, VAT was most strongly associated with 25(OH)D concentrations which suggest that specific attention for vitamin D deficiency should be given to individuals with a high amount of VAT.
The study concludes that vitamin D levels are lower in individuals with higher levels of belly fat, and suggests that individuals, particularly the overweight with larger waistlines should have their vitamin D levels checked, to avoid any potential threat to health.
The data was presented in Barcelona at the European Society of Endocrinology annual meeting, ECE 2018.