Weight Gain and Vitamin D Deficiency May Be Linked

By Brooke Strickland

A new study completed by Kaiser Permanente and published in the Journal of Women’s Health shows that older women who are lacking in vitamin D may be slightly heavier than women who have ample levels of vitamin D in their bodies.  The study looked at 4,600 women over age 65 in a 1.5 year period. Results showed that women with low levels of vitamin D gained on average two pounds more than those with enough of the vitamin.  In addition, the study found that almost 80% of the women had low levels of vitamin D. [1]

Vitamin D’s main purpose is to help maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. It helps aid in the absorption of calcium and studies have shown that it can also help protect against osteoporosis and high blood pressure. Vitamin D is often known as the “sunshine” vitamin, so odds are, if you don’t spend much time outside with proper sun exposure (or if you live in a part of the world known for rain or gloomy skies) or supplement with appropriate levels of the vitamin, you’re likely undersupplied.  The only way to really know if you are is to have a blood test completed to show what exactly your levels are of vitamin D.  Your doctor may order supplements to help boost your level of vitamin D.  However, there are also a variety of natural sources of vitamin D you can try incorporating into your daily life to help prevent deficiency. 

There are several foods that contain vitamin D, which include some fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and other foods such as mushrooms, beef liver, egg yolks, and cheese.  In addition, cod liver oil also has a good amount of vitamin D in it, so taking this on a regular basis can help.  Many other foods on grocery shelves have been vitamin D-fortified, such as some breakfast cereals, bread, pastries, oils, and dairy products.  Eating a well-balanced diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables – especially those rich in vitamin D and other important life-sustaining vitamins – can help keep you healthy and give you more energy.

[1] Wadas-Willinham, Val.  “Vitamin D deficiency may cause weight gain.” CNN.com.  June 25, 2012.  http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/25/vitamin-d-deficiency-may-cause-weight-gain/?hpt=he_c2 Accessed June 25, 2012.