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The Miracle of Vitamin D – Heart Disease, Weight Loss, Healthy Fats

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Krispin Sullivan, CN is a researcher, clinical nutritionist and author of Naked at Noon: The Importance of Sunlight and Vitamin D. In this extensive article, Krispin looks at the health benefits of vitamin D and how it is used in the body.

Part 5 of The Miracle of Vitamin D focuses on vitamin D and Heart Disease, weight loss and weight gain, and the right fats to eat.

The Miracle of Vitamin D

By Krispin Sullivan, CN

Vitamin D and Heart Disease

Research suggests that low levels of vitamin D may contribute to or be a cause of syndrome X with associated hypertension, obesity, diabetes and heart disease.50 Vitamin D regulates vitamin-D-binding proteins and some calcium-binding proteins, which are responsible for carrying calcium to the “right location” and protecting cells from damage by free calcium.51 Thus, high dietary levels of calcium, when D is insufficient, may contribute to calcification of the arteries, joints, kidney and perhaps even the brain.52-54

Many researchers have postulated that vitamin D deficiency leads to the deposition of calcium in the arteries and hence atherosclerosis, noting that northern countries have higher levels of cardiovascular disease and that more heart attacks occur in winter months.55-56

Scottish researchers found that calcium levels in the hair inversely correlated with arterial calcium-the more calcium or plaque in the arteries, the less calcium in the hair. Ninety percent of men experiencing myocardial infarction had low hair calcium. When vitamin D was administered, the amount of calcium in the beard went up and this rise continued as long as vitamin D was consumed. Almost immediately after stopping supplementation, however, beard calcium fell to pre-supplement levels.27

Administration of dietary vitamin D or UV-B treatment has been shown to lower blood pressure, restore insulin sensitivity and lower cholesterol.58-60

The Battle of the Bulge

Did you ever wonder why some people can eat all they want and not get fat, while others are constantly battling extra pounds? The answer may have to do with vitamin D and calcium status. Sunlight, UV-B, and vitamin D normalize food intake and normalize blood sugar. Weight normalization is associated with higher levels of vitamin D and adequate calcium.61 Obesity is associated with vitamin-D deficiency.62-64 In fact, obese persons have impaired production of UV-B-stimulated D and impaired absorption of food source and supplemental D.65

When the diet lacks calcium, whether from D or calcium deficiency, there is an increase in fatty acid synthase, an enzyme that converts calories into fat. Higher levels of calcium with adequate vitamin D inhibit fatty acid synthase while diets low in calcium increase fatty acid synthase by as much as five-fold. In one study, genetically obese rats lost 60 percent of their body fat in six weeks on a diet that had moderate calorie reduction but was high in calcium. All rats supplemented with calcium showed increased body temperature indicating a shift from calorie storage to calorie burning (thermogenesis).61

The Right Fats

The assimilation and utilization of vitamin D is influenced by the kinds of fats we consume. Increasing levels of both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids in the diet decrease the binding of vitamin D to D-binding proteins. Saturated fats, the kind found in butter, tallow and coconut oil, do not have this effect. Nor do the omega-3 fats.66 D-binding proteins are key to local and peripheral actions of vitamin D. This is an important consideration as Americans have dramatically increased their intake of polyunsaturated oils (from commercial vegetable oils) and monounsaturated oils (from olive oil and canola oil) and decreased their intake of saturated fats over the past 100 years.

In traditional diets, saturated fats supplied varying amounts of vitamin D. Thus, both reduction of saturated fats and increase of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats contribute to the current widespread D deficiency.

Trans fatty acids, found in margarine and shortenings used in most commercial baked goods, should always be avoided. There is evidence that these fats can interfere with the enzyme systems the body uses to convert vitamin D in the liver.80

About the Author

Krispin Sullivan, CN is a researcher and clinical nutritionist in practice in Woodacre, California. She is currently working on a book, Naked at Noon: The Importance of Sunlight and Vitamin D, to be published in 2001.

Instructions for physician monitoring of vitamin D, calcium and magnesium repletion are available from www.sunlightandvitamind.com or by contacting Krispin at krispin@krispin.com or 1-415-488-9636.

Source: http://www.westonaprice.org/basicnutrition/vitamindmiracle.html

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This entry was posted on Friday, October 17th, 2014 at 6:13 am and is filed under Research.

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