Obesity and Vitamin D Deficiency

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Vitamins are vital to the enzyme pathways that make our bodies metabolize food into energy.

You may think that people who take vitamins are crazy or hypochondriacs, but it is a valid truth that vitamins are vital to the enzyme pathways that make our bodies metabolize food into energy, grow, move, and think. Sadly in the 21st century, in societies like ours, with an abundance of food, most of us are still undernourished in the most important nutrients—vitamins.

An extreme example of vitamin deficiency we rarely see in the US is Scurvy, from the lack of Vitamin C. In the 1800s people who experienced a lack of vitamin C became weak, anemic, and had bleeding of the gums, and loose and open wounds on the skin that wouldn’t heal, as well as experiencing personality changes. Vitamin C is a building block for skin, collagen in blood vessels and in the skin.  At this time in the world the food with the most vitamin C was citrus fruit, and most of the world did not live in an area that was warm enough to produce citrus fruit.  In fact it became so common, that in the British Navy sailors would be given a lime and grog daily to keep their bones strong.  Hence the name given to the Brits is “limey”.  Fifty percent of sailors in the 1800s died from Scurvy on long voyages.   We rarely see this disease in the developed nations now, both because we have inexpensive citrus fruit and juice, refrigeration and transportation to carry the fruit from warm countries and areas of our country, and because most people take multi-vitamins that have vitamin C in them.

Vitamin D3 is the vitamin we are concentrating on today because Americans have a great deficiency in Vitamin D and we are becoming obese because of it.  Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is actually a hormone that does many things including building bone, stimulating the metabolism of fat into energy, lowering blood glucose and stimulating the burning of calories. This is a vicious circle, the less vitamin D the fatter you get, the fatter you are the less vitamin D you can make or process.

We are now at a crossroads in the health of our country when we have to do something drastic to save ourselves from an atmosphere of “abundance” that causes us to eat too much drink too much and lay around too much.  Our obesity rate is out of control and one of the big factors is a vitamin deficiency—Vitamin D!  This vitamin can be consumed by taking a supplement containing Vitamin D3, and from exposure to the Sun.  There are many factors contributing to this.  Our society has changed in the past 100 years from an agricultural nation populated with people who made a living on the land (outside, where they absorbed vitamin D through their skin), to a nation whose occupants live at desks with non-nutritious food, with no exposure to the sun except for brief moments in a day, and who protect their skin from the sun with sunscreen, thus causing a nation that is pale and Vitamin D deficient.

On the surface that advance in medicine (sunscreen all over a person’s body from birth to death) sounds like a reasonable tradeoff; less skin cancer for low Vitamin D levels which are generally only associated with osteoporosis.  But medicine has made a big mistake in demanding paleness and lack of unprotected sun exposure.  This has caused our nation to be one of the fattest nations in the world, and the new studies link low vitamin levels to obesity.  A study in this months Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism proves the association between low vitamin D3 levels with insulin resistance that leads to obesity, cardiovascular disease and Type II Diabetes.

This study comes on the heels of many other studies linking low vitamin D to preterm labor and gestational diabetes. This points to the function of vitamin D not just as a vitamin but also as a hormone!  I practice Anti-aging medicine, and the foundation of my treatment is to treat the hormone deficiencies first, and then the missing peptides, nutritional and exercise habits.  Vitamin D is one of the first things I recommend in my practice.  I am located in the middle of the United States and we are well above the latitude where someone who works outside without sunscreen can get enough vitamin D without supplementation.  I recommend Vitamin D3 in oil capsule form at 5,000 miu/day for all of my patients!  If you use sunscreen daily, or work inside then wherever you are you need supplementation of hormone/vitamin D3.

Vitamins should be recommended based on the environment in which a patient lives.  Because I live in Missouri and have 2 practices in Missouri, at approximately the _38th__ parallel from the equator I recommend that all my patients take Vitamin D, because even people who work outside can only get appreciable vitamin D from the sun during the spring and summer in my state.  I recommend Vitamin D3 5000 mili-international units/day.   There is another essential nutrient that is scarce in Missouri and it is iodine.  The lack of it in the food and water grown in the Midwest causes our area to be called the goiter belt.  Almost everyone in Missouri and the surrounding Midwest should be supplemented with iodine. Lack of iodine causes goiters, which are large thyroid glands, indicative of hypothyroidism. If a person lives in the Midwest then they should take 12.5 mg of Iodoral daily.  Another threat to the thyroid and the effectiveness of iodine in the body is fluorinated water and fluorinated toothpaste.  Fluorine displaces Iodine from the receptor sites where it is used effectively, and fluorine causes organs that need iodine, like the thyroid, to fail to work normally.

There is nothing easier than taking a vitamin in the morning with breakfast.  They are absorbed best with food, and can take the vitamins you need for your health problems, and the area of the country you live in.


Take home Advice

If you are on a diet, then the very first thing you should do is start taking Vitamin D3 5,000 units per day.  You should also find a way to be out in the sun daily for 20 minutes or more without sunscreen or sunglasses.  The more overweight you are the more Vitamin D you will need.  It may take months to rebuild the stores of Vitamin D3 in your body but it will be worth it.  If you don’t do this simple thing you can spend a lot of money and time starving yourself to be disappointed in the results, or take your Vitamin D3 and effectively lose weight with a low carb diet!

This Health cast was written and presented by Dr. Kathy Maupin, M.D., Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Expert and Author, with Brett Newcomb, MA., LPC., Family Counselor, Presenter and Author. www.BioBalanceHealth.com

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