Supplementing with vitamin D found to improve blood pressure in overweight children
In a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
, researchers observed overweight and obese children who were also vitamin D deficient. They found that supplementing with a high dose of vitamin D every day for six months helped reduce the children's blood pressure
and improved their insulin sensitivity. Their findings show the importance of getting enough vitamin D from your diet and the benefits of maintaining healthy vitamin D levels.
Obesity and vitamin D deficiency risk
For their study, Dr. Kumaravel Rajakumar and his colleagues enrolled 225 vitamin D-deficient children aged 10 to 18 years old from Pittsburgh.
The young participants were overweight
or obese in the clinical trial and 211 of them were black. The researchers explained that individuals with darker skin have higher amounts of melanin pigment in their skin, which makes them more likely to be vitamin D deficient than their lighter-skinned counterparts.
This is because vitamin D
is created in the body when the skin is directly exposed to sunlight while melanin in the skin acts as a natural sunscreen and inhibits vitamin D production.
Additionally, overweight and obese children have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency. They are also at greater risk of developing diabetes
and heart disease.
For the study, the children were divided into three groups and given pills that looked identical but contained different quantities of vitamin D, which is measured in international units (IUs).
- One group received a 600 IU tablet daily, which is the current recommended daily dietary allowance.
- Another group received a 1,000 IU tablet daily.
- The last group received a 2,000 IU tablet daily, which is still well below the 4,000 IU daily maximum considered safe for children in this age group.
During the trial, neither the participants nor their doctors knew which dose was given to the volunteers.
Vitamin D and disease risk
Blood tests revealed that the higher the daily dose of vitamin D, the greater the improvement in the participants' blood concentration of vitamin D. Once the trial concluded, none of the groups were considered vitamin D deficient.
After six months, the children given the daily 2,000 IU vitamin D supplement had a reduced fasting blood glucose level and improved insulin sensitivity. These outcomes are important because they can decrease the children's susceptibility to diabetes and improve their cardiovascular health.
After six months, the children given 1,000 IUs of vitamin D daily had lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is a great concern because it increases the risk of heart attack, kidney disease and stroke.
It's worth noting that the study didn't show improvements in other markers of cardiovascular and metabolic health. It also did not reveal any significant changes in measures of the health of the membrane that lines the blood vessels or arterial stiffness. Both are strong indicators of heart health and were the primary measures that the researchers were trying to improve with vitamin D supplementation
Rajakumar said there are reasons why changes in endothelial function or arterial stiffness weren't observed. It's possible that vitamin D doesn't influence these, or the research team didn't reach and maintain a level of vitamin D to produce a significant effect.
Rajakumar concluded that the treatment of vitamin D deficiency with high daily doses can have a positive impact on the cardiometabolic health of children without causing adverse effects.
Preventing obesity in children
While supplementing with vitamin D was beneficial for the children in the study, the best way to prevent childhood obesity
is to instill good lifestyle habits while they are still young
. Here are some things that you can do for them as a parent:
Don't make weight loss the goal
Children's bodies are still developing and the New York State Department of Health
(NYSDH) does not recommend traditional weight loss strategies for children. Enforcing a calorie-restricted diet may also prevent children from getting the vitamins, minerals and energy they need for proper growth.
Instead, you should focus on helping your child develop healthy eating behaviors.
Provide nutritious foods
Make sure you feed your children healthy, balanced and low-fat meals so they get the nutrition they need. Giving them nutritious food choices also helps them develop smart eating habits.
Teach kids about the importance of eating balanced meals with a variety of delicious and nutritious foods such as dairy, fruits and vegetables, lean meats, legumes and whole grains.
Measure and control portion sizes
Overeating can result in obesity, so make sure your children eat proper portions.
According to the NYSDH, two to three ounces of cooked poultry, lean meat or fish are one portion. One slice of bread, half a cup of cooked rice or pasta and two ounces of cheese are also one portion.
Encourage kids to be active
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) recommends limiting kids’ time on the couch to no more than two hours every day.
Since children already need to spend time doing their homework and quiet reading, it's best to limit their time with other sedentary activities like watching TV, playing video games and surfing the Internet.
If your pantry is full of junk food, your kids will be more likely to eat unhealthy snacks.
At the same time, kids look to their parents for examples of how to eat. To help your kids stay healthy, be a role model. Remove tempting but unhealthy options like junk food which are rich in calories, salt and sugar.
If you teach your children how to plan meals, choose low-fat foods and prepare nutritious dishes, they’ll be able to develop healthy habits that may last a lifetime and help prevent obesity
Watch the video below to learn more about Caulerpa, a seaweed that can help prevent obesity
This video is from the Groovy Bee channel on Brighteon.com
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