One of the best ways to prevent and fight disease is by giving our bodies the correct balance of nutrients to optimize health. Most patients can streamline their vitamins by adjusting dietary choices and having the right combination of supplements.
Micronutrients and Obesity
Obesity is a chronic disease involving social, environmental, genetic, physiological, metabolic, behavioral and psychological components. It is the second leading cause of preventable death in America, second only to cigarette smoking. It increases the risk of diabetes, hypertension, cancer, infertility, arthritis, and heart disease, along with many other diseases. Although you would expect the consumption of many high-calorie foods to provide all the nutrients essential for a healthy body, adipose (fat) tissue, has its own nutritional requirements and drains nutrients from other areas. Fat cells often draw from nutritional reserves and reduce the bioavailability of nutrients.
Obesity often reduces the bioavailability of nutrients, including Vitamin D. The effectiveness of Vitamin D supplementation is largely dependent on how overweight a person is. In a recent study, over 50% of obese patients were evaluated for Vitamin D status and found to be deficient.
Regulation of Hormones Linked to Obesity
Niacin (B3) treatment has been shown to increase levels of adiponectin, which is a beneficial enzyme that regulates metabolism of glucose and fatty acids. Decreased adiponectin levels have been associated with obesity and heart disease. In a similar study, vitamin B5 raised the activity of lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme that helps break down fat cells so they can be processed by the body. Epidemiological studies have reported that low zinc status is also associated with a higher prevalence of obesity.
Amino Acids and Body Composition
Carnitine is an important amino acid that helps muscle cells utilize energy and burn calories. Evidence shows that adding carnitine to an exercise program can reduce visceral adiposity (belly fat) more efficiently than without supplementation. Glutamine is another amino acid that has been shown to reduce fat mass and improve glucose uptake in skeletal muscle, which can reduce insulin resistance. Asparagine, another amino acid, can improve insulin sensitivity by increasing the amount of sugar taken into the muscle tissue to be burned for fuel. It also increases the capacity of muscles to utilize fatty acids for fuel, ultimately contributing to an increase in the efficiency of energy production and reducing the risk of obesity.
Obesity and Insulin Resistance
Obesity and insulin resistance typically go hand in hand, negatively reinforcing the metabolic abnormalities that cause both. Luckily, optimal micronutrient status can help break the negative cycle!
Vitamin K supplementation, for example, can reduce the progression of insulin resistance. Lipoic acid has been shown to increase the rate of glucose uptake into muscle cells, which helps a person burn sugars more efficiently.