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Obesity may Lead to Vitamin D Deficiency in the Body

Update Date: Feb 06, 2013 04:13 AM EST

Obesity and diseases associated with vitamin D deficiency have been two of the biggest causes of health worries for people worldwide. Now, a study finds that both of them are linked, and that excess fat can lead to a decrease in the level of vitamin D in the body. Thus, reducing weight can also help combat the deficiency of vitamin D in the body.

The study was led by Dr. Elina Hypponen of UCL Institute of Child Health (ICH) and was published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

Vitamin D in the body helps in the absorption of calcium and phosphates in the intestines. It is not an essential dietary vitamin, as the human body produces it in sufficient amount on exposure to sunlight. It is essential for bone health and has also been linked with improved immunity of the body.

The study focused on finding out whether vitamin D deficiency was the cause or effect of obesity. Researchers found that the level of vitamin D was significantly lower in obese people, and this observation was consistent irrespective of a person's age. They found that in obese people, vitamin D can be stored in high quantities, however, minimal amount of it is being circulated in the body.

The research has also shown that while more amounts of vitamin D might not help in losing weight, the lack of it might lead to many diseases which are linked to obesity. In cases where vitamin D is not naturally synthesized in the body, dietary supplements of vitamin D are given especially for the treatment of osteoarthritis, a disease common among obese people.

"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 sun creams, we should not forget that vitamin D deficiency is also caused by obesity. Our study highlights the importance of monitoring and treating vitamin D deficiency in people who are overweight or obese, in order to alleviate adverse health effects caused by a lack of vitamin D," Dr. Hypponen was quoted as saying in Medicalxpress.

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