You’re going to have much bigger problems, other than pale skin, if you’re vitamin D deficient according to a study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. People who have low levels of vitamin D are more likely to have diabetes—regardless of their weight.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, maintain bone density and preserve muscle health. When you’re exposed to sunlight, your skin naturally produces the vitamin; the issue is most of us are in the throes of winter—more concerned with bundling our bodies than daring to bare some skin, and only a small amount is absorbed through food. But we’re looking at about 1 billion people worldwide dealing with vitamin D deficiency, according to the study.
Researchers compared vitamin D levels in lean to morbidly obese subjects, taking into account whether or not they had diabetes. Obese subjects (without any glucose metabolism disorders) had higher levels of vitamin D than diabetic subjects; likewise, lean subjects with diabetes were more likely to have low vitamin D levels. A lack of sunshine could increase our risk of diabetes more so than a high BMI.
Find out about how your diet can reduce and prevent the 7 most common nutrient deficiencies here.