Study links vitamin D deficiency to metabolic syndrome in mice

One out of every four of the world’s adults suffers from metabolic syndrome. This is often a precursor to diabetes and heart problems, and it is no secret that a poor diet that is rich in the wrong kinds of fats and carbohydrates plays a role in its development. However, scientists have also found that a vitamin D deficiency is a vital part of the progression of metabolic syndrome.

Those suffering from this ailment often carry extra weight around their waist, an excessive amount of fat in the liver, and at least two of the following: high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure.

Researchers from China’s Sichuan University found that metabolic syndrome could be treated and even prevented by maintaining high levels of Vitamin D. The study, which was carried out on mice, also confirmed previous findings that diets that are rich in fat can adversely affect bacteria in the intestine, spurring higher blood sugar levels and fatty liver. Insufficient Vitamin D in the body can further contribute to the imbalance of gut microorganisms. Their study was published in the Frontiers in Physiology journal.

Professor Stephen Pandol of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, who worked with the Sichuan University group, said that people who take Vitamin D can help fight metabolic syndrome, whether they get it directly from exposure to sunlight or via supplements.

It’s easy to get Vitamin D

This is good news for the many people suffering from this ailment because a Vitamin D deficiency is easy and cheap to remedy. In fact, spending time in the sun is all it takes to get the amount of Vitamin D your body needs. It is important to note, however, that sunscreen will prevent you from getting the benefits of Vitamin D from sunlight. An SPF 30 sunblock, for example, can slash your body’s ability to produce this crucial vitamin by as much as 99 percent.

People with light skin are advised to spend at least 15 minutes in the sun daily, while those with medium skin need around 25 minutes and those with dark skin need 40 minutes to get the full effects.

Vitamin D has plenty of other benefits for your health as well. It plays a role in cell differentiation and proliferation, mood regulation, and calcium absorption, and it is important for proper immune functioning.

Other natural sources of Vitamin D

If you don’t have access to regular sunshine, supplements are an option, but it’s important to check the sources very carefully. Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, uncovered the prevalence of toxic heavy metals in many popular supplements in his book, Food Forensics. If you don’t have a trusted source of supplements, there are a few foods you can eat to get your Vitamin D naturally.

Oily fish is an excellent source of Vitamin D, particularly trout, salmon, and swordfish. Just three ounces of these fish can give you as much as 97 percent of your daily recommended intake. Other good sources include mackerel, halibut, tuna, sardines, flounder, herring and sole. Of course, you’ll want to consider the source of your fish in order to avoid contamination.

Organic mushrooms are another good source of Vitamin D as they naturally produce it when they are exposed to UV light sources. Shiitake, chanterelle and morel mushrooms can give you about a quarter of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin D apiece, but it only takes one maitake mushroom to get the job done.

While eggs, raw milk, and beef also contain vitamin D, their levels do not come close to meeting the daily requirement.

The findings of the Sichuan University study highlight the need for all individuals to pay attention to their Vitamin D intake. With 59 percent of population being deficient in Vitamin D, the potential for disease prevention is dramatic, and all people need to do to fix the problem is spend more time in the sun or eat the right foods.


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