Retailers have done such a comprehensive task of worrying people to stay out of the exposure of the sun. Their widely established message to avoid the sun, shared with an overall cultural trend of spending more time indoors whether work or time-out has greatly contributed to the prevalent Vitamin D deficiency in today’s time.
Vitamin D, once thought to effect little more than bone diseases such as rickets and osteoporosis, is now acknowledged as a key reason in overall human health. Immune function, heart disease and stroke, cancer, diabetes, depression, osteoporosis, parathyroid problems and now as established by newer research even weight loss.
How is this possible? And what should you do about it for your dear ones? The answer isn’t as simple as being under the sun or taking supplements.
Recent studies about weight gain have associated it to a Vitamin D deficiency. A study reported by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) found that women whose blood levels of Vitamin D reached healthy levels through supplementation during a diet and exercise program lost more weight than those whose blood levels did not. Another study published by AJCN showed that the paybacks of weight loss – appropriate levels of blood pressure, blood sugar, insulin and blood lipid – were increased in participants who took calcium and Vitamin D during their weight-loss program.
General tenderness affected by being overweight has also shown to be reduced with intake of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency also leads to weight gain because of inactivity due to:
- Low blood levels of Vitamin D have been linked to depression
- Fatigue and laziness due to depression which leads to inactivity that contributes to weight gain
- Poor blood-sugar control in the body which contributes to weight gain
- High sugar level and blood pressure leading to risk of developing diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and multiple sclerosis (MS) have also been linked to inadequate levels of Vitamin D
- Both RA and MS are sometimes treated with prednisone, a corticosteroid whose side effects include weight gain
Scientists are discovering that Vitamin D also stimulates normal cell growth and differentiation throughout the body, working as a key factor in maintaining hormonal stability and a fit immune system. Calcitriol actually becomes part of the physical arrangement of cells, supporting the buildup and breakdown of healthy tissue – in other words, regulating the processes that keep you well.
Weight gain in adolescents
A second study found that more than half of overweight adolescents seeking weight loss surgery are deficient in Vitamin D. Eight percent were found to have severe deficiencies, and teens with the highest BMIs (Body Mass Index) were the most likely to be Vitamin D deficient. Less than 20 percent had adequate Vitamin D levels. The research links with previous studies showing Vitamin D deficiency in adults looking for bariatric surgery.
Weight gain in older women
According to a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the Journal of Women’s Health, more than 4,600 women with age 65 years and older shows that having low Vitamin D levels can lead to mild weight gain. Previous research has already showed that obese people are more inclined to have low Vitamin D levels. Women with inadequate levels of Vitamin D gained about two pounds more as compared to those with adequate blood levels of Vitamin D during the 4.5-yearlong study.
The chief source of this imperative vitamin is sunlight, and as today’s busy schedules tends to keep people indoors, prolonged Vitamin D deficiency may be contributing to long-lasting weight gain. Women in their pre-menopause and menopause, when there can be enhanced bone loss, can slow bone loss by getting enough Vitamin D.
Activated Vitamin D may affect the movement of free fatty acids from the adipose tissue as well as absorption of fat cells. Experiments have shown that large doses of Vitamin D lead to surge in energy usage, a tool for weight loss. However, three randomized controlled trials testing the effect of Vitamin D supplementation on weight loss in overweight individuals showed no effect. On the other hand, there have been randomized controlled trials that have shown a very modest weight loss after taking Vitamin D supplements.
Supplements of Vitamin D appear valuable through our lifespan, from the growing stage to old age. Investigation specifies that we are at less risk of developing osteoporosis later in life if the mother had adequate store of Vitamin D during her pregnancy period.
What you can do to prevent Vitamin D deficiency?
- Allow yourself adequate sun exposure
- Eat a diet rich in whole foods
- Take a top-quality multivitamin every day (under medical supervision)
- Take a Vitamin D supplement (under medical supervision)
- Check with your healthcare professional about Vitamin D testing
- Discuss adding a Vitamin D supplement to your diet with your healthcare provider