In a study published in the Journal of Women’s Health in June 2012, a research team found that an adequate nutrient intake is essential for metabolic functioning. While Vitamin D has been shown to affect the functioning of many systems in the body, this study has shown that low vitamin D intake is associated with increased body weight in older adult women. While it isn’t clear if there is a causal link, or if so, in which direction, researchers gave the impression that nutrient deficiencies can suppress the functions of cells.
Everything works better under UVB
There is also a strong correlation between vitamin D levels and the incidence and intensity of psychological depression. It also has strong causal link, as depressive symptoms can be re-mediated by increasing vitamin D levels. Balance with the body, of course, has a great deal of influence over psychological and emotional well-being.
Thin as a sunbeam
The study looked at nearly 5000 women over the age of 65. Five years after the study was initiated, the researchers noticed that the women who had started out with lower vitamin D were also more likely, even by the five year mark, to have put on weight faster than the women who met their vitamin needs.
Dr. Erin LeBlanc specializes in endocrinology – the study of hormonal functioning – at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research. She indicated that a chronic deficiency could cause a steady increase in weight. This may provide a key to both detecting a deficiency and overcoming difficulties with weight.
Study participants who had an adequate vitamin D supply were actually, on average, seven pounds heavier at the beginning of the study, but gained less weight over the course of the study. By the end of the experiment, women with insufficient vitamin D intake had gained an average of almost two pounds more per year.
The vitamin supply was left outdoors
Over 90% of the body’s vitamin D supply is made from sun exposure, and very few dietary sources are available. As people age, they often lead increasingly indoor lifestyles, and lack of solar exposure may contribute to the common deficiency. Of the study population, 80 percent did not have enough vitamin D in their blood. The Endocrine Society asserts that many older adults need to increase their vitamin D intake in order to protect against fractures and bone weakness. This is particularly important among women who have passed menopause. The decrease in estrogen levels corresponds to a decrease in bone density.
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