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Friday, August 25, 2017

Vitamin D may boost heart health during weight loss

Supplements of vitamin D may improve cardiovascular health during weight loss, without impacting on how many pounds are shed, suggests a new study.

Writing in this month’s issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, German researchers report that a daily dose of vitamin of 83 micrograms per day had lower levels on triglycerides and markers of inflammation like tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha).
"The results indicate that a vitamin D supplement of 83 micrograms/d does not adversely affect weight loss and is able to significantly improve several cardiovascular disease risk markers in overweight subjects with inadequate vitamin D status participating in a weight-reduction program," wrote the authors, led by Armin Zittermann from the Clinic for Thorax and Cardiovascular Surgery in Bad Oeynhausen.

With obesity rates still high – not only in developed countries but also, increasingly, in newly wealthy emerging markets, there is considerable attention to ways to trim down waistlines. The results of the new randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial indicate that vitamin D supplements may be useful as a means of boosting heart health during weight loss.

The details on D

Vitamin D refers to two biologically inactive precursors - D3, also known as cholecalciferol, and D2, also known as ergocalciferol. The former, produced in the skin on exposure to UVB radiation (290 to 320 nm), is said to be more bioactive.

While our bodies do manufacture vitamin D on exposure to sunshine, the levels in some northern countries are so weak during the winter months that our body makes no vitamin D at all, meaning that dietary supplements and fortified foods are seen by many as the best way to boost intakes of vitamin D.

In adults, it is said vitamin D deficiency may precipitate or exacerbate osteopenia, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, fractures, common cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases. There is also some evidence that the vitamin may reduce the incidence of several types of cancer and type-1 diabetes.

On the downside, the researchers noted that participants receiving the vitamin D supplements did experience an average 5.4 per cent increase in their levels of LDL-cholesterol.

Source for Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is measured in international units (IUs); most adults should get between 600 and 800 IUs per day. So, what foods are best for vitamin D? Most foods don’t contain much vitamin D—the best source for vitamin D is actually sunlight. You only need about 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure a few times a week to reap the benefits.  You can supplement your vitamin D intake with these foods:

  • Swordfish: 566 IUs per serving
  • Salmon: 447 IUs
  • Canned tuna: 154 IUs
  • Fortified orange juice: 137 IUs
  • Fortified milk: 115 to 124 IUs
  • Eggs: 41 IUs

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