Obesity increases health risks in a variety of ways — aggravating inflammation, taxing joints and heart, increasing blood pressure and bathing internal organs with fat-related toxins. Science is uncovering another threat posed by excess adipose tissue: Fat traps vitamin D, lowering levels required for the functioning of nearly every cell in the body. Fortunately, new research shows that dropping at least 15% of body weight raises vitamin D by liberating it from fat tissue.
A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at what happened to blood levels of vitamin D when overweight and obese women went on various exercise and diet regimens. The 439 post-menopausal women were drawn from Seattle — representing a northern region with increased risk of D deficiency due to lower sun exposure. Those who lost a little weight — 10 pounds, or about 5% of body weight — enjoyed an 8% lift in vitamin D levels, while those who lost 15% or more increased their vitamin D levels by a whopping 35%! Observes study author Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D.: “T]he relationship between weight loss and blood vitamin D is not linear but goes up dramatically with more weight loss.” As we move into the shorter days of autumn, remember that everyone — regardless of weight status — can increase their vitamin D through the consumption of canned salmon and canned sardines.