Posted by: Kevin G. Parker, D.C.
Written by: CharlesPoliquin.com
Take Vitamin D To Lose Fat—And If You’ve Got Extra Fat, You Need More D!-4/5/2012 8:19 AM
Take vitamin D to lose fat and improve insulin sensitivity.
And if you’re overweight, you need more vitamin D to be healthy.
Research shows that vitamin D plays multiple role in body composition, and the most important thing you need to know is that you’ve got to have an adequate level if you want to be lean and strong.
Two new studies support the following previous evidence:
1) Vitamin D deficiency is widespread and affects all populations, especially people with darker skin, overweight people, and those who live in sunny climates.
2) Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and it is stored in your fat cells.
3) People with the lowest vitamin D levels tend to have the greatest amount of visceral belly fat. Supplementing with vitamin D can lead to belly fat loss.
4) Vitamin D deficiency puts you at greater risk of injury.
5) Vitamin D deficiency is considered to be below 20 ng/ml. Insufficiency is below 30 ng/ml. An ideal therapeutic level is 50 ng/ml.
A new study in the journal Obesity found that in overweight women who lost weight while on a two-year diet, vitamin D levels increased significantly as they dropped the pounds.
There was no restriction on taking vitamin D supplements during the study, but the women weren’t given supplementary vitamin D either.
They simply had to provide information about how much vitamin D they took.
Results showed that there was a direct correlation between the amount of weight the women lost and an increase in vitamin D levels by the end of the study.
Women who lost 5 to 10 percent of their weight increased vitamin D by 2.7 ng/ml, and those who lost more than 10 percent of their weight increased vitamin D by 5 ng/ml, whereas the women who lost no weight or gained weight decreased their vitamin D by 0.6 ng/ml.
Weight loss, with the expected reduction in body fat, increases vitamin D level in a dose-response manner because when you have more fat, the vitamin D is “sequestered” there.
The fat isolates and stores the vitamin D, taking it out of circulation, and often resulting in a very low vitamin D level.
This means that if you are overweight you need to increase vitamin D intake, and work to lose fat if you want to be healthy.
Those are two things you can be sure of, but the role of vitamin D in supporting health and body composition is more complex.
A second study shows that there is also a correlation between insulin sensitivity and vitamin D levels.
This study tested insulin health in normal weight and obese individuals.
Individuals with normal weight had the greatest insulin sensitivity and the highest vitamin D level.
Individuals who were overweight and insulin resistant had the lowest vitamin D level, whereas those who were overweight but had better insulin health had an average vitamin D reading in the middle, indicating that vitamin D plays a direct role on metabolism.
This is likely because in a healthy body, vitamin D will interact with every cell, supporting energy use in the cells.
Take note that in the first study at baseline, the white women in the study had an average vitamin D level of 23.3 ng/ml, whereas the black women had an average level of 13.7 ng/ml, which is a horribly low level.
Additionally, the study included women who lived in Arizona, Minnesota, California, and Oregon, and the women from Minnesota had the highest average level—24.6 ng/ml—whereas those from Oregon had he lowest at 18.9 ng/ml, indicating that lack of sun may play a greater role in vitamin D level than a cold climate.
Or it could mean that climate is irrelevant to vitamin D status in the U.S. if people are not spending meaningful time in the sun.
Take away from these studies the understanding that getting adequate vitamin D will improve your metabolism and help you lose fat. As you decrease your body fat, your vitamin D level should rise, and further support metabolism. Shoot for a vitamin D level in the 50 ng/ml range for optimal health and body composition. Get tested by your doctor if you are concerned about your level.
Rock, C., Emond, J., et al. Weight Loss is Associated with Increased Serum 25(OH) D in Overweight or Obese Women. Obesity. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.
Lamendola, C., Arial, D., et al. Relations Between Obesity, Insulin Resistance, and Vitamin D. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.
Other good Vit D articles: