Health and Wellness

Your weight could alter the effects of Vitamin D on your health

By Steven Reinberg 

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, January 24, 2023 (HealthDay News). Vitamin D is often promoted for better health. However, if you are overweight, you may not reap the benefits.

A new study found that people with lower body masses (BMI) had a 30%-40% reduction in the incidence of cancer, death from cancer, and other autoimmune diseases. But, there was only a slight benefit for those with higher BMIs.

Deirdre Tubias, an assistant professor in nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, stated that obese patients had a lower response to the same supplement.

The study authors pointed out that a BMI below 25 was considered healthy.

It isn’t known how being overweight or obese affects the levels of the “sunshine Vitamin.” However, it is possible that low vitamin D absorption could be common given that over 40% of Americans are obese according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It is not clear if this is due to their bodyweight per se or any other factor related to an individual’s body weight. It could be due to obesity. Tobias explained that having a lower weight can lead to a higher intake of vitamin D. Adiposity refers to excess fatty tissue.

Next, the researcher will try to discover what it is that weight has on vitamin D metabolism.

Tobias said that it is not clear whether overweight or obese people can offset the lower vitamin D supplement effect by taking higher doses.

This is not a vitamin that you can take in unlimited quantities. It is most commonly excreted in the urine when you take too much of it,” she stated. This study does not recommend that you take a higher dose to ensure your safety.

Tobias and her coworkers used data from the Vitamin D & Omega-3 Trial (VITAL) to conduct the study. This trial randomly assigned almost 26,000 older adults vitamin D supplements or placebo. Although vitamin D supplements were not shown to have any benefit in preventing cancer, stroke or heart attacks, the trial did show a correlation between body fat and the risk of developing cancer, death from cancer, and autoimmune diseases.

The researchers decided to look deeper into the data. The researchers looked at nearly 16,500 participants who donated blood samples at the beginning of the trial, and almost 3,000 who followed-up two years later.

Researchers found that all participants showed signs of vitamin D metabolism, regardless of their weight. However, this was much lower in obese and overweight people.

Emma Laing (Director of Dietetics at Georgia University and National Spokesperson for Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) stated, “Vitamin D has shown to reduce the chance of osteoporosis and related chronic diseases.”

Laing pointed out that scientists have identified a few factors that could make vitamin D supplementation less effective for people with larger bodies. “As vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it’s possible that people with higher levels of adipose tissue store more vitamin D in these tissues so less is detectable in the blood. Another hypothesis is that adipose tissue suppresses enzymes and receptors that are responsible for vitamin D’s effectiveness in the body,” she said.

Laing advises against taking vitamin D supplements before consulting with your doctor. Side effects can occur. She said that adverse events can occur, from minor to serious to life-threatening, if you take more vitamin D than recommended, if you take a combination, or if your medication interacts with a supplement.

Laing acknowledged that supplements can be useful in certain situations.

She said that vitamin D supplements might be an option if your diet is not adequate or you have limited sunlight exposure due to skin color, climate, or sun protection.

Laing explained that supplementation may be needed if a person has an eating disorder, is suffering from a vitamin deficiency or is taking medications that interfere with nutrient absorption or appetite. It might be necessary to take vitamins and minerals from supplements in those situations, Laing suggested.

Laing said that supplementation is recommended when there are restricted food options due to allergies or intolerances.

People who have lost weight may need supplements. Laing stated that athletes competing in sports and military personnel may need supplements if they find it difficult to eat healthy food.

The report was posted online on January 17, 2017. JAMA Network Open.

For more information, click here

Visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine for more information on vitamin D.


SOURCES: Deirdre Tbias, ScD assistant professor, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health Boston; Emma Laing PhD, RDN director, Dietetics, University of Georgia Athens, National Spokesperson, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics JAMA Network OpenOnline, January 17, 2023

Comment here