The health benefits of this particular vitamin are immeasurable. Too many to cover in one article. So this article focuses on the weight loss benefits of Vitamin D.
Table of Contents
Vitamin D and Weight Loss – Is There a Connection
Vitamin D is often associated with weight loss and not without good reason.
Several studies show a relationship between Vitamin D and obesity.
Some research shows lack of Vitamin D may make you prone to weight gain.
Other research shows increasing your intake of Vitamin D can help you to lose fat.
However, researchers are still unable to agree on how much Vitamin D people need to consume a day.
The fact that there appears to still be some confusion about this makes it difficult to make sure you are getting enough.
Vitamin D: What It Is and Where to Get It?
Often referred to as the “Sunshine Vitamin, Vitamin D is a nutrient your skin can create when it’s exposed to the UVB rays of the sun.
Despite its name, Vitamin D is not a vitamin at all. It’s a hormone.
However, it’s also classed as a fat-soluble vitamin.
You can get it by eating mackerel, salmon, beef liver, and cheese.
Unfortunately, there are not a lot of food options that provide vitamin D.
This is probably a big part of the reason why around 50% of people do not have enough Vitamin D circulating in their blood.
Needless to say, this situation is not helped by the fact that many countries don’t have much sunshine at certain times of the year.
The use of sunscreen only goes to make the situation worse.
Because they are generally low in fat, weight loss diets can also contribute to Vitamin D deficiency and that’s not good.
It’s an important nutrient. Your body requires it to support strong bones and overall good health.
All things considered, many people may find it beneficial to consume extra Vitamin D in supplement form.
Vitamin D and Obesity
A number of studies suggest a link between Vitamin D deficiency and obesity and it’s a kind of double-edged sword.
Not getting enough Vitamin D may make you obese and being obese might increase your Vitamin D deficiency.
How’s that for a strange kettle of fish?
If all this sounds like a good reason to maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D, you won’t get any argument here.
However, some researchers refute the data that indicates a link between Vitamin D deficiency and weight gain.
They suggest the data that shows overweight people often have unusually low levels of circulating Vitamin D3 is flawed because bigger bodies may require levels of Vitamin D3 that are greater than the present recommendation.
If this theory is true, larger people may actually be getting more of the vitamin than the levels in circulation suggest because a larger body may deplete Vitamin D3 more quickly.
Vitamin D as a Weight-Loss Aid
Some research shows consuming extra Vitamin D can help you to lose weight and may do so in more than one way.
The results of a study conducted in Korea show increasing levels of circulating Vitamin D may discourage your body from storing extra energy as fat.
However, research conducted elsewhere indicates increasing your levels of Vitamin D may produce a corresponding increase in serotonin.
Also known as the “feel-good hormone” serotonin can influence your mood in a positive way.
Needless to say, when your mood is good you are less likely to comfort eat.
Additionally, serotonin also appears to suppress hunger by increasing satiety.
Vitamin D supports testosterone production as well. Not surprisingly, it’s a key ingredient in many testosterone boosting products.
Testosterone is an important hormone. Although men have a greater reliance on it, women need testosterone too.
The only difference is the female body requires a lesser amount.
One of the things testosterone does is support growth and cellular repair.
Increasing testosterone levels can also provide you with a leaner, stronger body that has less fat and more muscle.
Vitamin D: How Much Do You Need?
The present recommendation is for adults to consume at least 600 IU (15 mcg) of Vitamin D each day.
Unfortunately, some researchers muddy the water by suggesting overweight people may need considerably more.
They believe Vitamin D requirement needs to be calculated on an individual basis, allowing 32-36 IU of Vitamin D for each pound of bodyweight.
Is there a flaw in this proposal? Very possibly because the bigger you are, the more Vitamin D you will need.
The present recommendations for Vitamin D set the upper limit at 4,000 IU per day.
The proposed formula suggests people suffering from obesity will require much more than that.
Can Vitamin D Help Weight Loss? – Summary
Research shows a definite link between Vitamin D and bodyweight.
More specifically, it shows increasing levels of Vitamin D can help you to lose fat, while not getting enough Vitamin D may cause you to store it.
That’s great. The confusion about the daily requirement is not.
Hopefully, future research will make things more clear.
Unless your doctor advises you otherwise, the best course of action may be to aim to consume at least 600 IU per day and avoid going over 4,000 IU per day.
There could be a lot to be said for aiming for the higher end of the scale.
Especially if your environmental situation prevents your skin from making the most of the sun.
Although there are arguments for compensating for lack of sunlight by using a sunbed, there are also arguments against it.
The best way to top-up your Vitamin D is always via the mouth and there are two ways to do it.
The first thing you can do is deliberately seek out foods that are high in Vitamin D and make them a regular part of your diet.
The other option is to use a supplement – a dedicated Vitamin D supplement rather than a weight loss supplement.
If you are vegan or vegetarian, taking a supplement will likely be the best option.
When it comes to foods that are rich in Vitamin D, the options are quite limited.
When you remove things like liver, cheese, and fish, the options are fewer still.
However, vegans and vegetarians will also need to take extra care when choosing a supplement.
Many of the ones that provide Vitamin D contain gelatin and fish oils.
It’s also worth being aware there is more than one form of Vitamin D and, although Vitamin D2 is always suitable for Vegans, Vitamin D3 often is not.