Recent Study Establishes Link Between Vitamin D Deficiency and Belly Fat

recent study establishes link between vitamin d deficiency and belly fat

A recent research indicates that people, who have higher amounts of belly fat and with greater waistline are more prone to have lower levels of vitamin D.

Probably, we all know what vitamin D is and most of us are well aware of its most important functions too. Undoubtedly, it has been the buzzword in the medical sphere for quite some time.

When our skin gets exposed to sunrays, this vitamin is produced. It has numerous roles to perform in our body. A lot of research has been done on a class of fat-soluble secosteroids, commonly referred to as vitamin D. For example, several studies claim that vitamin D can help prevent cancer, diabetes and heart failure, while others indicate that its deficiency may lead to hair loss.

While deficiency of vitamin D is largely said to be associated with the health of bone, [1] many studies have also linked this vitamin with other health conditions, including autoimmune disease and respiratory tract infection.


Surprisingly, nearly 40% of the U.S. population suffer from vitamin D deficiency, which is a grave concern. Often regarded as “an ignored epidemic” by many researchers, vitamin D deficiency is believed to affect more than 1 billion people globally with varying intensities. [2]

What is Vitamin D Deficiency?

As the scientific community is consistently gaining more insights about the significance of vitamin D, researchers are putting even more efforts to learn who all are at a greater risk of developing its deficiency and ways to prevent the same.

Since this vitamin has been found to be responsible for so many health conditions, with thorough research, it is quite possible to save a sizeable population of risky people not only from vitamin D deficiency, but from many other associated health conditions.

The Current Research

the current research

A team of researchers from two Netherlands-based institutions, namely Leiden University Medical Center and VU University Medical Center, has lately revealed the findings of their study,[3] led by Rachida Rafiq, in the annual meeting of the European Society of Endocrinology, in Barcelona, Spain.

Although the connection between obesity and vitamin D has earlier been established, the current study followed a more comprehensive approach to know if the location and type of the fat have roles to play in establishing this connection.[4]

For their study, the team collected data from the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity study in which, men and women, aged between 45 and 65 years, in thousands were included. During the study, the data was adjusted for a spectrum of highly fluctuating variables like ethnicity, level of physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption and presence of any chronic illness.

Exploring the Link Between Belly Fat and Vitamin D

 exploring the link between belly fat and vitamin D

The study revealed that in case of women, total as well as abdominal fat were linked with decreased level of vitamin D with abdominal fat responsible for maximum impact. On the other hand, lower vitamin D level was majorly found to be associated with fat inside the abdomen and liver.

Interestingly, regardless of sex, lower vitamin D levels were identified to be significantly associated with higher percentage of belly fat among all the participants.

With respect to the study results, Rachida said that the strong link between higher concentration of fat around the belly and decreased levels of vitamin D simply indicates that people with greater waistlines are more prone to develop vitamin D deficiency. And so, they need to get their levels checked regularly.

Rachida further wants to explore whether vitamin D deficiency makes the fat to get stored in the abdominal area or is that the belly fat, which reduces vitamin D levels in the body.


She finally concluded that nothing can be inferred regarding the cause and direction of the said association as the study was merely observational. However, the study surely depicted the possibility of vitamin D being responsible for fat storage in the abdominal region as well as its function.

With the growing number of scientific claims linking vitamin D deficiency with obesity, it is now become even way more important to effectively and timely deal with such issues.