Vitamin D and Obesity

Vitamin D levels in obese subjects have been studied extensively. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) has been shown be inversely related with BMI. It has been speculated that supplementing with Vitamin D may help reduce body fat in obese individuals.

Let me first explain what 25-hydroxyvitamin D is. It isn’t vitamin D, it is merely an accurate method of measuring the amounts of vitamin D present in the body. I’m not going to explain what exactly Vitamin D is because everyone and their dog knows about it. If you want to learn more about it check out this article in the CJASN.

Numerous studies have shown an association between low vitamin D levels and obesity. A cohort of over 25,000 individuals were studied in Norway. The researchers concluded that have serum (25(OH)D) levels <50 nmol/L was associated with new-onset obesity in adults. This study didn't discuss the reasons for this. Another study by Alemzadeh et al studied hypovitaminosis D (>75 nmol/L) in children and adolescents. The researchers discovered that obese 74% of obese adolescents were vitamin D deficient. So there’s another interesting tidbit.

Now let’s examine what happens when obese individuals are supplemented with vitamin D. Do they lose weight? Do their biomarkers of health improve? Jorde et al studied obese subjects over a one year period and found no positive effects of vitamin D on glucose tolerance, blood pressure or serum lipids. No good…

Lastly, let’s see how vitamin D supplementation effects fat loss in obese subjects. Sneve et al studied 450 obese individuals over a one year time period. They set out to determine if vitamin D supplementation would results in fat loss. The participants were separated into 2 groups. One group received 20,000 IU’s of vitamin D per week, the other group received 20,000 IU’s of vitamin D twice per week. Both groups were supplemented with calcium. There was no reduction in weight in either groups. One huge hole in this study was the lack of tracking food intake. Since neither group lost weight, it’s still unlikely that their caloric intake changed much. It still would’ve been a good piece of data to record.

So we now see that vitamin D doesn’t really do anything in terms of improving biomarkers of health or reduce bodyfat in obese individuals. Why aren’t these individuals getting benefits from supplementing with a vitamin that they are deficient in?

The answer lies in a study published over a decade ago. Wortsman et al sought out to discover the bioavailability of vitamin D in obese subjects. Bioavailability is defined as: the proportion of a drug or other substance that enters the circulation when introduced into the body and so is able to have an active effect. The study “assessed whether obesity alters the cutaneous production of vitamin D(3) (cholecalciferol) or the intestinal absorption of vitamin D(2) (ergocalciferol).”

The researchers discovered that the vitamin D(3) precursor 7-dehydrocholesterol did not differ significantly between obese and non-obese subjects. Both groups received 50,000 IU’s of vitamin D2. The conversion of vitamin D2 to D3 was also equal between both groups in vitro. However, after 24 hours, obese subjects were shown to have 57% less incremental increase in vitamin D compared to non-obese subjects. Ergo the researchers concluded that “Obesity-associated vitamin D insufficiency is likely due to the decreased bioavailability of vitamin D(3) from cutaneous and dietary sources because of its deposition in body fat compartments.”

So it would appear that the presence of excess adipose tissue is the reason that the body cannot receive the proper amount of vitamin D. It’s simply being stored in the fat. Vitamin D needs to be metabolized by the liver and kidney’s in order to be used in the bloodstream. So to conclude, it would appear that obesity is causing vitamin D deficiency, it’s not the other way around.

Protein Pudding Recipe

Here is a super easy recipe that’ll have very minimal amounts of calories. It also requires an incredibly low amount of work. Two very good points to keep in mind IF you are trying to lose some lbs. I have to give credit to where it is due. I first read about this from Martin Berkhan. I never actually tried it until my friend mentioned how good it was too me and I’ve had it every day for the last little while.

Protein powder (any kind of protein, and any amount of protein)
Water (or milk)
A lot of Love

1. Put protein in a bowl.
2. Add a small amount of water and stir. Stir until there is no liquid left.
3. Add water until you reach the desired consistency. It will be a very, very small amount of water.

That’s it. You can easily add other ingredients. Peanut butter is awesome, any kind of nut butter works. You can eat it on it’s own, add berries, fruit, nuts, whatever. Get creative.

If you are using a scoop of protein that has around 25 grams of protein will have 100 calories in it (plus some trace amounts of calories from fats and/or carbs). If you add milk this will also add calories. However, since you will use a very small amount of liquid, even milk won’t add a ton of calories. Enjoy.

What I Learned From Charlie Weingroff

I attended Charlie Weingroff’s excellent seminar this weekend called “Training = Rehab, Rehab = Training.” To say that Charlie is a ridiculously smart dude is an understatement. Anyways, if you enjoy moving properly and staying out of pain, read on.

– Movement qualities can be restored or improved. Movement qualities can be restored if they aren’t industry standard. Movement qualities that are industry standard should be improved if needed. Industry standard in my case refers to the Functional Movement Screen. The screen quickly gives me the information I need to screen whether or not a client meets the industry standard for functional movement.

– There are numerous ways to get a client in pain to non-pain. Some treatments are authentic and others lack authenticity. Advil for instance is not authentic treatment. It may help with the pain immediately after it is taken, but it doesn’t remove the cause of the pain. Fixing movement is authentic and can have long lasting effects.

– How we gain stability is more important than having stability. Anyone with a crappy posture has stability, their fascia is holding that position. Do we want our stability to be causing pain or dysfunction?

– A painful joint is usually doing everything right! Another joint, probably above or below are causing the dysfunction or pain! He brought in a case study that was directly related to this. A female with a messed up, crunchy and sometimes painful knee. In about 10 minutes of assessing and helping her “fix” her hips, she was able to squat with minimal crunching and no pain. He repeatedly said, this wasn’t a knee problem, it was a hip problem (and he didn’t even assess her ankles, which also could have been contributing to the issue).

– This was an amazing point he made on the feeling of “tight muscles.” Muscles may feel tight, yet not actually be short. The nervous system maybe be sending messages to the joint to keep it restricted into certain movements. Perhaps the brain is restricting movement because it wants to prevent a problem from occurring.

– In order to truly add length to a muscle, it must be elongated for 30 minutes or more. This will add actin/myosin fibres which can change tissue length/stiffness. Stretching for a few minutes will do nada in terms of true muscle flexibility.

– If you statically stretch someone, how do you know it’s not a capsular problem. Maybe their lack of flexibility comes from a lack of movement in the joint capsule.

– A packed shoulder is a direction, not a position. You want to pack the ball of humerus into the glenoid fossa.

– Kinesiology doesn’t lie, but it doesn’t tell the whole truth either. For instance, in the kinesiological model the rotator cuff performs shoulder internal rotation and external rotation. Yes it does these actions, but the most important and overlooked action it does it to pull the head of humerus down and into the glenoid fossa.

– I thought this was super important and couldn’t agree more: make sure you are auditing your clients to see if what you are doing is working (are they improving movement patterns, getting stronger, getting faster etc.). If it isn’t, change your approach or refer out to someone who can help.

– Putting something between your foot and the floor (such as shoes with large heels) robs you of tension. There isn’t any reason to NOT train barefoot.

– In the presence of a threat, there is a cascade of muscles that get inhibited and muscles that get activated.

– Less glutes = more knee compression in the squat pattern.

– The TVA NEVER TURNS OFF…. Unless you are deceased.

– Drawing in inhibits the outer core, bracing does not.

– Corrective exercise is a blend of training and rehab.

– The goal of corrective exercise should be to make the client feel wrong. This way the client has no option but to feel right, if they know what wrong feels like.

– The short foot and shoulder packing are needed for joint centration.

– If a client is full of two’s in the FMS leave the corrective exercise… Lift heavy ass weights!

That was just an inkling of the things we learned. There really was so much stuff, and I definitely was overwhelmed at times. However, I definitely took a lot of information away with me and I’m glad as hell I attended this seminar. If you ever get a chance to see Charlie speak and you are in the business of dealing with people in pain, then pay to see him.

More “Evidence” of the Pitfalls of Artificial Sugar

The Face of Evil?
[Rant] A new piece of research has surfaced that once again paints zero calorie sweeteners poorly. First of all I’m not some form of Splenda addict, as a matter of fact I rarely consume it. However, it has zero calories and I happen to enjoy it when I feel the need for something sweet. I’ve covered the effects of artificial sugars on bodyvfat here.

This study concluded that: ‘Daily diet soft drink consumption is associated with several vascular risk factors.’ This study has been somehow carrying weight in the mainstream media. This is unfortunate.

Let’s have a look at a few of the holes found in this study. First of all they used a dietary recall method to track diet. This method sucks, plain and simple. People are awful at recalling what they eat. Since men and women have been known to underestimate their caloric intake anywhere between 11-13% using the 24-hour recall method, you can assume that the figures for caloric intake are off. That’s a big hole. If you can’t even properly record what your participants are consuming on a daily basis, how do you know what they are leaving out?

The other issue with this study is that they don’t tell you all the other foods and drinks the participants are consuming. For instance, let’s say someone has some vascular risk factors and they consume diet pop on a regular basis. Let’s breakdown what this person might be consuming on a daily basis:
Meal 1 – McDonalds egg mcMuffin and hashbrowns. Coffee with sugar and cream
Snack – diet coke and muffin
Meal 2 – diet coke, donut, footlong meatball Subway sandwich.
Snack – diet coke and mixed nuts
Meal 3 – diet coke, some wine, salmon fillet with mashed potatoes and salad, a slice of pie with ice cream

Now let me ask you if you think it’s the zero calorie beverage they are consuming multiple times per day or the tremendous amounts of processed foods they are eating that is causing their health issues. What this study is basically saying to me is that if you took just the diet coke out, their health would improve. So now their daily eating would look like this:
Meal 1 – McDonalds egg mcMuffin and hashbrowns. Coffee with sugar and cream
Snack – muffin
Meal 2 – donut, footlong meatball Subway sandwich.
Snack – mixed nuts
Meal 3 – some wine, salmon fillet with mashed potatoes and salad, a slice of pie with ice cream

The deletion of the zero calorie beverage will not make a difference!

Along the same lines, just because someone consumes diet pop doesn’t make them un healthy. Are they getting a diet coke with their supersized McDonalds meal, or are they enjoying a diet coke with their chicken and salad? You can easily see the dichotomy between these two diets.

To conclude, there is no reason to worry about consuming artificially sweetened drinks every now and then. You won’t swell up into a blob, and you won’t drop dead because you just had a Fresca… [/Rant]