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Obesity: The Vitamin D Connection

Obesity and the vitamin D deficiency-related condition osteomalacia often go hand in hand. Osteomalacia is characterized by extreme bone and muscle pain and weakness. Being overweight predisposes a person to osteomalacia because the excess fat absorbs and holds on to the vitamin D from the sun and diet so that it cannot be used for bone building and cellular health. In addition, obese people are frequently vitamin D deprived because they go outside much less for practical and self-esteem-related reasons. A vicious cycle than begins.

When an obese person has osteomalacia, the bone and muscle pain and weakness make it virtually impossible to participate in any sort of physical activity that might help the individual manage his or her weight. As a result, the individual will become even more obese, which in turn will worsen his or her vitamin D status and exacerbate the osteomalacia.

Treating a person’s vitamin D deficiency will cure osteomalacia and make it possible to increase an obese
people’s vitamin D levels by exposing them to UVB radiation, in this case from tanning beds.

Treating obese people who have a vitamin D deficiency-related osteomalacia may have benefits other than enabling them to exercise. Recent research has shown that being vitamin D deficient interferes with the secretion of a hormone called leptin, which signals the brain when a person has consumed enough fat. Building the vitamin D in that person’s bloodstream to normal levels will restore that process.

Much more research needs to be done, but I think there is enormous potential for UVB
exposure from the sun or artificial sources to be used to treat people with obesity.

Excerpt from The UV Advantage Michael F. Holick Ph.D., MD. and Mark Jenkins