It is a universal fact that vitamin D helps to strengthen the bones and improve immune health. However, as per new research studies conducted through the country, it has been revealed that vitamin deficiency is related to weight gain or obesity. Many people trying to lose weight through diet find it difficult to shed those extra pounds even after following a strict diet and regular workout.
If you are also sailing in the same boat, we suggest you to get your vitamin D levels checked at the earliest. And, if they turn out to be low, you can either take vitamin D supplements, consume foods that contain high amount of vitamin D, or even go for an early morning walk.
More about Vitamin D
Vitamin D is also referred as the sunshine vitamin. This name is given because it gets synthesized when the body is exposed to sunlight. This fat-soluble vitamin gets stored in fat cells, thus helping to maintain a healthy body weight.
Vitamin D has two different forms, viz. Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) and Vitamin D3 (Calciferol). Vitamin D3 gets synthesized in the human skin on being exposed to the sun. On the contrary, Vitamin D2 is man-made and is added to foods more commonly.
As a matter of fact, vitamin D helps the body to absorb phosphorous and calcium. This way, it not only makes the bones stronger, but also helps to maintain their strength. Talking further, it also strengthens the immune system (1).
As per a study, it was reported that almost 50% of the world’s population suffers vitamin D deficiency. This is only because of reduced outdoor activities, environmental factors, and poor lifestyle choices (2).
About Vitamin D Deficiency
This fat-soluble vitamin, when taken in the form of dietary supplement, is also publicized as a natural weight loss support. In fact, it has also been revealed through research that vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of weight gain. However, taking vitamin D supplements not only helps to promote weight loss, but also maintain a healthy weight. Even though vitamin D is present naturally in many food items, like oily fish and is also added to foods like juice and fortified milk, many health professionals and doctors recommend getting vitamin D through direct sun exposure. Some other sources of vitamin D include yogurt, eggs, orange juice, salmon, tuna, and fortified cereals. For others, however, taking vitamin D supplements might prove to be a better and more reliable means of maintaining passable vitamin D levels.
Generally, people who are at risk of being vitamin D deficient include:
- Infants who are breastfed
- Older adults
- Obese or overweight people
- Those with dark skin
- Those with limited sun exposure or those who use sun-block frequently
How does Vitamin D aid Weight Loss?
Vitamin D, in combination with leptin, a crucial hormone, works wonders to reduce weight. Leptin is secreted by the fat cells in the body and works by sending a signal to the brain, thus allowing the body to realize that it’s pushing the stop button on eating. Vitamin D helps to keep this amazing hormone and the signals work properly. But, in case of vitamin D deficiency, the signals get disturbed and the body doesn’t realize when it’s full. This causes you to end up eating more than required (3).
Adding further, vitamin D helps to increase the levels of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter related to mood, sleep facilitation, and appetite control. Serotonin regulates healthy weight by reducing hunger and increasing satiety.
In addition, it also helps to raise testosterone levels that are helpful for weight loss among males. Increased levels of testosterone help to reduce body fat, maintain healthy weight, and improve the metabolism as well, thus making the body burn more calories as well as stop the buildup of more fat cells.
As per studies conducted by health surveyors, it has been observed that obese and overweight people given vitamin D supplements in combination with a low calorie diet lost more weight as compared to those following same diets but no added vitamin. This success was observed specifically in people who suffer vitamin D deficiency. It was estimated that almost 45% of adults were vitamin D deficient (4).
[ Read: How Can Vitamins Help Reduce Weight ]
Who Benefits from Vitamin D for Weight Loss?
People with a higher fat percentage in the body or BMI have been observed to have lower vitamin D levels. The underlying reason is that these people tend to eat fewer foods with while taking the vitamin (5, 6). Secondly, they do not get proper exposure to sunlight very often, and have lower levels of enzymes to convert vitamin D to its active state. An obese or overweight person requires more vitamin D as compared to a person with normal body weight.
It is important for an overweight person to get the vitamin D levels checked at regular intervals to avoid any serious consequences.
Health Benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a very crucial nutrient required by our body. In addition to being helpful in weight loss, vitamin D also provides numerous health benefits for the human body, maintaining healthy bones and teeth being the most popular one,.
- It helps to manage diabetes by regulating insulin levels. Studies have revealed an inverse relationship between vitamin D levels and type2 diabetes.
- It supports the nervous system and strengthens immune health.
- Vitamin D deficiency can be a cause for osteoporosis or osteomalacia (soft bones), one of the common bone diseases in post-menopausal women.
- Deficiency of vitamin D on the body can increase the risk of health issues like increased risk of allergies, such as eczema, asthma, and atopic dermatitis among children.
- It supports heart health and proper functioning of the lungs.
- Children suffering from vitamin D deficiency have been observed to suffer from Influenza A.
- Vitamin D also helps to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
- Deficiency of vitamin D can also lead to diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, swine flu, autism, rheumatoid arthritis, and high blood pressure.