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A new study published in the March 2010 Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that 59 percent of respondents had inadequate levels of vitamin D in their blood. Moreover, nearly 25 percent of participants had severe deficiencies of the nutrient.
The results of the study were especially surprising to principal investigator Richard Kremer, from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center, because the study participants were all healthy young women living in California people who would logically be expected to benefit from abundant exposure to sunshine and a well-balanced diet.
Furthermore, the study found a direct correlation between vitamin D deficiency and increased visceral fat, decreased muscle strength and overall health problems.
"In the present study, we found an inverse relationship between Vitamin D and muscle fat," said Kremer. "The lower the levels of [the nutrient], the more fat in the subjects' muscles."
While the study identifies a direct association between vitamin D and fat accretion, the researchers state that more trials need to be conducted to ascertain whether nutrient supplementation can result in less accumulation of fat or increased muscle strength.
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