If you have concerns regarding your belly fat, you may want to take a close look at your diet for possible vitamin deficiencies. Some deficiencies may contribute to fat around the middle. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over two-thirds of American adult men and women are overweight.
Abdominal fat is of special concern because of its role in metabolic syndrome. This group of risk factors, including belly fat and high blood pressure, increase your risk for developing coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States in 2007. A 2001 study published in the journal “Nature” found that fat impairs the body’s ability to use insulin and may be a contributing factor to the development of diabetes.
One vitamin deficiency of particular concern regarding belly fat is vitamin D. A 2010 study published in “Medical Hypotheses” found that compelling evidence of a link between the prevalence of obesity and an accumulation of fat. While this research is sobering, more disturbing are the findings of a 2010 study in “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.” Researchers found that vitamin D deficiencies caused fat accumulation in healthy young women.
The type of diet you follow can also increase your risk of fat accumulation around your abdomen. While a vegan diet is low in saturated fats, it can put some people at risk for vitamin deficiencies which can affect metabolism. A 2010 study in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found that vegans were at risk for developing deficiencies in vitamins B-12 and D, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin B-12, for example, is primarily found in animal sources.
Several nutrients play key roles in fat metabolism. Deficiencies in these vitamins and minerals may impair metabolism and increase fat accumulation. Vitamins E, B-1 and B-6, as well as niacin, are all essential for healthy metabolism. Ironically, fat consumption is necessary to prevent the effects of a vitamin E deficiency. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, explains Colorado State University Extension. Consumption of fat is necessary in order for your body to use it.
Other vitamin deficiencies can contribute to belly fat by impacting your exercise. Vitamin D, for example, is necessary for calcium and phosphorus absorption for strong bones. Deficiencies of any of these nutrients can increase your risk for osteoporosis, which can impair your ability to exercise and burn off fat. A healthy lifestyle is important to help you reduce the risks of chronic health conditions associated with abdominal fat. A diet rich in nutrients will give your body the necessary nutrition to for weight control.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Leading Causes of Death
- “Nature”; Diabetes: Dialogue between Muscle and Fat; M. Birnbaum; February 2001
- “Medical Hypotheses”; Vitamin D Deficiency Is the Cause of Common Obesity; Y. Foss; March 2009
- “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism”; Vitamin D Status and Its Relation to Muscle Mass and Muscle Fat in Young Women; V. Gilsanz et al; February 2010
- “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition”; Health Effects of Vegan Diets; W. Craig; May 2009
- "Principles of Anatomy and Physiology"; G. Tortora et al; 2005