Certain vitamins, such as vitamin C, can help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which contributes to visceral fat. Extra fat, particularly belly fat, can be detrimental to your health by surrounding your internal organs and interfering with their function. A healthy weight management program including healthy lifestyle choices such as proper diet and adequate exercise, stress management techniques, and getting enough sleep are the most sure-fire way to lose weight and keep it off during the long term.
Stress Causes Fat
Stress is a part of life, and can be chronic, for example when you're stressed all the time due to the demands of daily life, or acute, when you're stressed because of a particular situation or event, like the death of a loved one. Your body responds to acute stress by producing hormones that induce a fight or flight response, and can respond to chronic stress by producing a defeat response. The defeat response can lead to the creation of fat and the storage of that fat deep within the abdomen, as well as a suppressed immune system and breakdown of lean muscle tissue.
Cortisol is the body's energy regulator, and it controls what type of tissue -- fat, protein, or carbohydrate -= is used to create energy at any given moment. When you are chronically stressed, cortisol may convert protein from your muscles into usable fuel. It is also responsible for the deposition of visceral -- deep abdominal -- fat stores. Increased cortisol levels lead to cravings for foods that are high in sugars and fat, and to increased appetite.
Taking extra "C" can help balance out cortisol spikes. You can get lots of vitamin C from fresh fruits and veggies. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C help control free radicals in your body; free radicals contribute to cellular degradation and aging, and may contribute to conditions such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis. Vitamin C is one of the building blocks for carnitine, which is used by your body to transform fat into the fuel it needs.
Vitamin C and Weight Loss
There is no strong evidence that vitamin C plays a role in weight-loss efforts, whether taken just before bed or any other time. There are several benefits to taking C, though, and it should be incorporated as part of a healthy diet and exercise regimen that includes stress management and adequate sleep. Loading up on vitamin C-rich foods will help ensure you are getting adequate levels to help your body function at its best.
Ari Reid has a bachelor's degree in biology (behavior) and a master's in wildlife ecology. When Reid is not training to run marathons, she is operating a non-profit animal rescue organization. Reid has been writing web content for science, health and fitness blogs since 2008.