It may come as a surprise to learn that around 40% of the U.S. population is deficient in Vitamin D. Of course, what with an increasing tendency to sit inside on our phones and snack on less-than-healthy foods, maybe it’s not such a surprise after all. Regardless, with this vitamin D epidemic in mind, researchers set out to find some answers. And, as they soon found out, there is an interesting link between vitamin D deficiency and belly fat. (1)

The Connection Between Vitamin D Deficiency And Belly Fat

Just last year a group of researchers led by Rachida Rafiq presented their findings at the European Society of Endocrinology. Rafiq and his colleagues studied the link between vitamin D deficiency and belly fat, trying to find the connection. The group found that as opposed to those at a healthy weight, obese people were more often deficient in vitamin D. In other words, the larger the waistline the more likely to be vitamin D deficient. (2, 3)

After they confirmed the link between vitamin D deficiency and belly fat, they started researching why. At first, they believed that obese individuals spent less time outside in the sun, resulting in less vitamin D. But they proved this hypothesis false rather quickly. The real reason that vitamin D deficiency and belly fat are connected is actually directly related to excess body fat. Body fat absorbs a large amount of vitamin D. This may sound like a good thing, but the extra absorption actually prevents vitamin D from getting to the liver to be processed. Because vitamin D isn’t processed as quickly, it takes longer to get into your system resulting in lower levels of the vitamin overall. (2, 3)

The Dangers Of Vitamin D Deficiency

Having low levels of vitamin D may not sound like a big deal. But being vitamin D deficient isn’t just linked to your weight. Over time it can actually be quite serious. Vitamin D deficiency is also connected to the following health conditions and issues:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Psychological disorders
  • Hypertension
  • Cancer
  • Hair loss (3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

How To Get More Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency and belly fat are definitely related. But unfortunately, supplementing with this vitamin most likely won’t help you lose that extra belly fat. Research has shown that vitamin D supplementation actually does next to nothing for your weight. (8)

That said, making sure you get enough vitamin D is still extremely important for your health. Especially if you have a larger waistline, it’s crucial that you check your vitamin D intake and keep it at a healthy level. Here are a few ideas of ways to get some more of that Vitamin D in your life.  

1. Take Advantage Of The Summer Sun

Scientists estimate that between 80 and 90% of vitamin D in your body comes from the sun. Apparently spending time outside is extremely effective when it comes to that Vitamin D! Try reading a book in the sun, going to the pool, or taking a hike to get some of that delicious sunshine. (3, 9)

2. Eat Foods Rich In Vitamin D

It’s true that only 10-20% of vitamin D comes from food. But focusing your diet on foods rich in vitamin D can still make a difference. Try eating fatty fish (salmon, tuna, and mackerel), cheese, and egg yolks. A lot of milk and orange juice brands are also fortified with vitamin D. (3, 9)

3. Take A Daily Supplement

Another simple way to get your daily dose of vitamin D is through supplementation. Most people should try to get around 600 IU (15 mcg) of Vitamin D per day. Find a vitamin D2 or D3 supplement, and add it to your daily routine. (9)

Keep Your Vitamin D Where It Should Be

Vitamin D may not be the most popular of the vitamins, but it’s definitely not one to be overlooked! Especially for those with a little extra belly fat. Get your daily dose of vitamin D by using some of the tips above. A little extra time in the sun, some vitamin D-rich foods, and a daily supplement may be just what you need to keep your vitamin D levels where they should be.

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