Overweight women may need more vitamin D. Here’s why

Published on: 28 February 2022, 15:04 pm IST

There is a strong link between obesity and vitamin D. Did you know that women fighting obesity need more vitamin D than others?

Aayushi Gupta
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Keep a check on your vitamin D daily intake. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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We all need vitamin D in our daily diet because it is crucial for bones, muscles and teeth health. Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is a fat-soluble vitamin and it helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in your body. That clearly means that your body needs an adequate amount of it to maintain optimal health. Did you know that women who are obese need double the amount of vitamin D compared to others? Yes, that’s true.

Dr Aparna Govil Bhasker, Laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon, Saifee Hospital, Apollo Spectra, Namaha and Currae Hospitals, Mumbai, spoke to HealthShots about how vitamin D needs are linked with weight and why overweight women need more vitamin D in their daily diet.

obesity and vitamin D
Don’t let yourself run short on the sunshine vitamin! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Why do women with obesity need more vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and is stored in the body fat tissue. “Women with obesity tend to have lower vitamin D levels because higher body fat levels can lower the blood serum levels of vitamin D by causing it to trap in the excessive fat tissues. Volumetric dilution in the body tissues is another reason for vitamin D deficiency, and that’s why overweight women need more intake of vitamin D.”

Do you know why obese women face vitamin D deficiency? “Well, many people with obesity, especially women tend to stay indoors due to the fear of stigmatization. This decreases their exposure to sunlight which is one of the major sources of vitamin D. Poor dietary habits and genetic reasons have also been implicated in vitamin D deficiency,” says dietitian Mariam Lakdawala.

Higher doses of vitamin D supplementation may be required in people with obesity. However, weight loss is currently the only proven treatment method that leads to improvement in multiple health disorders like vitamin D deficiency, insulin resistance, hypertension, diabetes, and so on.

In fact, deficiency of vitamin D can be a major cause of weight gain

Yes, obese women are more likely to have vitamin D deficiency. It is because fat cells present in the body prevent vitamin D from being released into the blood, leading to weight gain. A study from the Netherlands is to be believed that belly fat is linked with lower vitamin D levels in women.

Along with this, research by the National Center for Biotechnology Information has also shown that body fat percentage is linked with a low level of vitamin D in the blood.

So, can increase the intake of vitamin D help in weight loss?

Since vitamin D deficiency and weight gain are linked, increasing the daily intake of vitamin D can help in weight loss. According to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, boosting the intake of vitamin D in your diet can increase your chances of losing weight.

obesity and vitamin D
Get the ‘sunshine’ vitamin via natural sources to manage your weight. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Look out for these signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D is vital for overall health and well-being. Here’s how you can find out if you’re deficient in vitamin D.

* Constant fatigue and lethargy are the first indicators of vitamin D deficiency.
* Getting infections often can be the result of lower levels of vitamin D in your body because it is essential for a strong immune system.
* Stress, anxiety, and depression are also the results of vitamin D deficiency.
* Vitamin D is important for bone development so muscle and bone pain may be a sign of inadequate vitamin D levels in your body.
* Kidney and liver complications are also associated with a lower level of vitamin D in your blood.

According to Dr Bhasker, working on a healthy diet and lifestyle for weight control and management must be the first step to keep obesity and vitamin D deficiency in check. Along with this, regular monitoring and supplementation for vitamin D levels must be done under clinical supervision.

Aayushi Gupta Aayushi Gupta

Candid, outspoken, but prudent--Aayushi is exploring her place in media world.

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