In a study conducted by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, scientists found that obese women who lose more than 15 percent of their body weight experience a noticeable boost in their levels of vitamin D.
Vitamin D has received a great deal of positive coverage in recent years. According to the National Institutes of Health, this nutrient is known to promote calcium absorption and bone healing, helps to diminish inflammation, contributes to immune system functioning, and even assists in preventing osteoporosis in older adults.
Seriously overweight people tend to have lower than normal vitamin D levels. Study author Caitlin Mason, Ph.D. hypothesizes that there may be a relationship between this deficit and the higher incidences of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease among obese people. These lower levels may be because obese individuals store Vitamin D in fat cells, rendering it useless to the body because it is not circulated through the bloodstream.
The recent study, which extended for a year, involved 439 overweight to obese, postmenopausal, sedentary women ranging in age from 50 to 75. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of four groups: diet only, exercise only, exercise plus diet, and no intervention.
The women who lost five to 10 percent of their body weight by means of exercise and/or diet experienced only small increases of vitamin D. By contrast, subjects who shed more than 15 percent of their original weight experienced a threefold increase in the amount of vitamin D in their blood.
Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Hutchinson Center’s Prevention Center, clarified that these results seem to be true mostly for women who lost a significant amount of weight. Although losing a smaller percentage of body weight helps to lower blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure, Vitamin D levels don’t experience a marked increase until more weight is dropped.
Those looking for all-natural ways to increase Vitamin D levels will find it in fatty fish. It can also be obtained by spending just ten minutes per day in the sun.
Dietary supplements which contain 400 international units are thought to be an adequate daily dose, although what a person needs can vary, depending on her age, where she lives, her weight, and the amount of time spent outside. Therefore, it’s always best to speak to a doctor before beginning dietary supplements.