Losing Weight With Vitamin D and Calcium

Maintaining a Healthy Weight with Vitamin D & Calcium

Weight loss, as well as maintaining a healthy weight, has become a widespread challenge for many. Not only are we bombarded daily with media representations that glorify unhealthy foods; we regularly face many psychosocial pressures that encourage us to overeat.

Genetics also play a huge role in which direction the scale points. For example, body weight tends to remain somewhat stable throughout adulthood for long periods of time, despite daily changes in calorie intake and expenditure. This is referred to as a physiological set point.

One’s set point is multifaceted. It consists of how your body metabolizes proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, how you handle stress, the biological signaling that occurs between cells—particularly fat cells, and behavior patterns that are specific to an individual. If any of these bodily processes is out of balance, it can make maintaining a healthy weight that much more difficult.

With all of these obstacles before us, you may be wondering how it is possible for anyone to maintain a healthy weight. Eating a healthy diet and living an active lifestyle are both integral for weight regulation. But did you know there are specific nutrients that may actively promote weight loss and weight maintenance?

Much attention has been recently given to vitamin D and calcium and how they may influence our body’s natural weight regulation process.  

Vitamin D, Calcium, & Weight Regulation: What the Research Tells Us

vitamin d3 and calciumVitamin D and calcium go hand in hand. Most commonly known, vitamin D makes calcium absorption possible. Without it, consuming calcium would be futile. That being said, it would make sense to assume that these two nutrients would also work together for countless other bodily processes.

Vitamin D regulates a number of functions in the body by having the ability to activate and deactivate several genes. Particularly, vitamin D plays significant roles in fat metabolism and the activation of hormones that impact this metabolism.

In our digestive tract, calcium binds to dietary fat, which results in fat excretion from the body. Additionally, research has shown that calcium intake increases the amount of weight lost while additionally redistributing fat away from the abdominal area. This is significant due to the fact that increased abdominal fat also increases the risk for many chronic diseases.

Numerous studies have shed light on the anti-obesity potential of calcium and vitamin D.  The effects of these nutrients on metabolism, increasing insulin sensitivity, and decreasing hunger will be discussed next.

Increasing Metabolism

Several published studies found that when higher amounts of calcium-rich foods were eaten at breakfast, daily energy expenditure increased and persisted long after the breakfast meal. Furthermore, results implied that the ability of calcium to increase energy metabolism depended on its level of absorption, which relies heavily on vitamin D status.

Improving Insulin Sensitivity and Decreasing Hunger

Insulin can be described as an “energy-storing hormone.” It helps glucose, derived from the foods we eat, to enter into cells to be used as energy or stored as fat. When we eat, insulin levels increase and signal the body to absorb glucose and use it as needed, thus keeping our body in a nourished state.

Eating an unbalanced diet over time can lead to abnormally high levels of insulin making it nearly impossible for glucose to enter cells. The body either no longer produces enough insulin or becomes resistant to the effects of insulin. Because the body “believes it is starving,” it stimulates more hunger and continues to drive weight gain. Supplementation of vitamin D and calcium has been found to improve insulin sensitivity.

In a review published by Obesity Reviews, supplementation with vitamin D was found to improve insulin sensitivity in humans.  Women who were non-diabetic, insulin-resistant, and vitamin D-deficient were given 4000 IU/d of vitamin D3 for 6 months. When compared to a similar group that received no supplementation, a clinically significant improvement in insulin resistance was observed in the vitamin D supplementation group.

Furthermore, Major et al. reported that a dosage of 600 mg of calcium in combination with 200 IU of vitamin D significantly reduced fat intake, fat mass, and weight with women who initially had reported low calcium intakes.

Losing Weight May Help Boost Vitamin D Levels: Feeding the Cycle

If supplementation and/or a nutrient rich diet will help to regulate body weight, then losing weight may, in turn, help to boost vitamin D and calcium levels within the body, therefore giving into a positive feedback loop.

According to a study in the International Journal of Obesity, individuals who followed a low calorie diet and experienced weight loss for 12 weeks saw an average increase in vitamin D status of 27%. The authors concluded that,

“Vitamin D increased after weight loss. This increase in vitamin D seems to be related to the magnitude of the weight loss, as all subjects ingested the same amount of vitamin D and the very low calorie diet.”

Vitamin D deficiency is seen to be more prevalent in obese individuals than lean individuals. Although not completely understood, scientists are striving to understand the difference.

The metabolism of vitamin D depends largely on many receptors, genes, and enzymes found in fat tissue. Therefore, fat tissue is seen to play an important role in vitamin D status and, by extension, calcium balance.  This could imply why having an excess amount of fat tissue may influence and even suppress vitamin D status, and why weight loss has been seen to improve it.

Healthy Tips

Keep in mind that when incorporating supplements into your daily wellness routine, it is best to talk it over with your physician first. However, below are some tips that may help you get the most out of these nutrients.

  • Calcium absorption decreases when taken in single very high amounts. Three to four smaller doses, either through diet or supplementation, throughout your day will enhance calcium absorption. Eat calcium-rich foods throughout your day and if supplementing, look for calcium mini-tabs that contain a lower amount of calcium per tablet.
  • Vary your calcium sources. Dairy isn’t the only food that contains calcium. Below is a table of foods that contain, not only calcium, but also other vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

VO-foodcalcium

  • Remember, to be absorbed, calcium needs vitamin D! Fatty fish and vitamin D fortified foods are excellent sources. Additionally, including a supplement can also build up vitamin D stores, thus aiding with calcium absorption.

Watch this video to find out more about losing weight with Vitamin D3 and Calcium.

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  1. Clear Water Press | Vita Optimum Collects Scientific Research On The Role Of Vitamin D3 And Calcium In Weight Loss - November 6, 2014

    […] article, entitled Losing Weight With Vitamin D and Calcium (http://vitaoptimum.com/vitamin-d-weight-loss/), features research and scientific studies that back the role of vitamin D and calcium in actively […]

  2. Every Day Good News | Vita Optimum Collects Scientific Research On The Role Of Vitamin D3 And Calcium In Weight Loss - November 6, 2014

    […] article, entitled Losing Weight With Vitamin D and Calcium (http://vitaoptimum.com/vitamin-d-weight-loss/), features research and scientific studies that back the role of vitamin D and calcium in actively […]

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