What's the Connection Between Vitamin C and Weight Loss?
Wouldn't it be wonderful if all you had to do to lose weight was to pop a capsule of vitamin C? It's not quite that simple, but taking supplemental vitamin C can at least make your weight loss diets a lot more effective. So let's see what the connection is between vitamin C and weight loss.
Vitamin C for Weight Loss in Saudi Arabia
There are few countries on earth that have a bigger problem with obesity and type 2 diabetes than the United States of America, and one of them is Saudi Arabia. Across the Kingdom, Saudis of all ages are dealing with issues of weight control and high blood pressure. Researchers at the Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences and Health Services first tested vitamin C as a treatment for type 2 diabetes.
The results of the study were encouraging:
- Blood sugar levels went down.
- Cholesterol levels went down.
- And insulin levels went down a lot.
The significant of lowering insulin for weight loss is that this sugar-storage hormone also stores fat. In fact, it's about 300 times more efficient at storing fatty acids than it is at storing sugar. In type 2 diabetes, the body makes more and more insulin as certain tissues become more and more "insulin resistant." Eventually the body just can't make enough insulin and blood sugar levels start to rise.
Before that happens, however, insulin levels rise and most people get fatter. You don't get fatter if you don't overeat, but having high insulin levels ensures that every extra morsel you eat quickly gets stored away as body fat. The Saudi scientists seemed to have discovered a way to make sure that lower-calorie diets actually worked for weight loss. But does vitamin C for weight loss really work?
Losing Weight with Vitamin C
Nutritionists at the University of California at Davis decided to see if adding vitamin-rich tomato juice to weight loss diet plans would help dieters lose weight. They didn't recommend just a little vegetable juice. Dieters were asked to cut calories, avoid salt, and drink 2 to 4 cups (480 to 960 ml) of low-sodium V8 juice every day.
The results weren't spectacular. Dieters who drank V8 juice lost, on average about 2 pounds (1 kilo) more after six weeks than dieters who did not. But the additional vitamin c was very high, either. Drinking V8 juice only put dieters at 120% of the recommended daily intake (RDI).
What if dieters got higher levels of vitamin C? Here is what scientists have found out.
- More vitamin C is correlated to trimmer waistlines
- More vitamin C is correlated to a lower body mass index (weight corrected for height).
- More vitamin C is correlated with faster fat burning.
- The benefits of vitamin C are highest in women.
Scientists have not found that it is necessary to take megadoses of vitamin C to help with weight loss. In fact, as little as 100 mg a day may make a difference. What vitamin C cannot do is to compensate for the effects of eating too much. Vitamin C can help you burn fat faster, but you have to eating a diet that isn't restoring fat to fat cells as fast as you burn it off.
Johnston CS, Beezhold BL, Mostow B, Swan PD. Plasma vitamin C is inversely related to body mass index and waist circumference but not to plasma adiponectin in nonsmoking adults. J Nutr. 2007 Jul;137(7):1757-62.
Shenoy SF, Poston WS, Reeves RS, Kazaks AG, Holt RR, Keen CL, Chen HJ, Haddock CK, Winters BL, Khoo CS, Foreyt JP. Weight loss in individuals with metabolic syndrome given DASH diet counseling when provided a low sodium vegetable juice: a randomized controlled trial. Nutr J. 2010 Feb 23;9:8.