We all know that vitamin D is good for the bones – it helps prevent osteoporosis – but what happens when you don’t have enough Vitamin D in your system?
Not having enough vitamin D is bad for the bones, and new research finds that it may put more fat on adolescents.
Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia studied over 650 teens aged 14-19. They found that teens reporting a higher intake of vitamin D had lower body fat and lower amounts of visceral fat, which is fat in the abdomen that is linked with higher health risks.
One group, black females, had the lowest vitamin D intake and also had higher percentages of body fat and visceral fat, while black males reported the lowest percentages of body fat and visceral fat. Another group, white males, were shown to be getting the recommended minimum amount of vitamin D.
“This study was a cross-section so, while it cannot prove that higher intake of vitamin D caused the lower body fat, we know there is a relationship that needs to be explored further,” says Dr. Yanbin Dong, a molecular geneticist and cardiologist at the MCG Georgia Prevention Institute.
“As humans, our largest source of vitamin D should be the sun. But we don’t spend enough time outdoors to get enough sun exposure and when we do, we’re often covered up and wearing sunscreen,” said Inger Stallman-Jorgensen, a research dietician at the Georgia Prevention Institute. “We can get vitamin D from certain foods, like fatty fish and liver, but it’s not in a lot of foods that we commonly consume. In this country, our milk is fortified with vitamin D. Unfortunately, teens just don’t drink enough milk to get their daily requirements.”
The scientists next step is to study whether teens will be able to take a daily vitamin D supplement in pill form.