The sunshine vitamin is best known for the role it plays in bone health. But vitamin D has been shown to help prevent cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, influenza, and type 2 diabetes. Benefits don’t end there. Vitamin D has also been shown to have an impact on our weight.
TL;DR: Vitamin D deficiency is fairly common in modern society. We are spending more time inside, not getting enough time in the sun. Prioritise your intake of the sunshine vitamin (Vitamin D) for your weight loss, bones, and general health.
Covid put the spotlight on Vitamin D. It plays a role in strengthening the immune system. But the benefits of this micronutrient don’t end there.
The sunshine vitamin is best known for the role it plays in bone health. But vitamin D has been shown to help prevent cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, influenza and type 2 diabetes. It is also useful in the management of depression and anxiety1.
Benefits don’t end there. Vitamin D has also been shown to have an impact on our weight2.
Low vitamin D levels in the blood have been associated with a higher body mass index and body fat percentage in obese people3. This has led scientists to investigate whether or not addressing a poor vitamin D status has an impact on a person’s weight loss efforts.
First we need to know what causes the problem. Some believe that it is a result of lifestyle factors such as not spending enough time in the sun or failing to eat foods that are rich in vitamin D. It could also be related to genetic factors and lower levels of the enzyme required to convert vitamin D to its active form4.
Scientific evidence has many researchers questioning whether the vitamin deficiency causes obesity or if it is the other way around. Did the chicken come before the egg? But many studies have shown that by taking a cholecalciferol supplement - the active form of vitamin D - you can drop your BMI and your waist circumference5.
Being overweight with a high body fat percentage results in many physiological and biochemical changes in the body. Vitamin D has been shown to address some of these metabolic abnormalities and the tissue damage that occurs as a result of these changes5.
Supplementing with the active form of vitamin D has been proposed to have an impact on these mechanisms5:
The neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine, are recognised not only for their effect on our mood, but also for their role in suppressing the appetite. Vitamin D boosts the levels of serotonin resulting in you feeling full quicker and for longer. It also naturally reduces the number of calories you eat6.
Everyone needs to meet their daily requirements for all micronutrients for the body to function at its best. The current recommended intake for vitamin D is 600 IU for people under the age of seventy and 800 IU for anyone older than that. These recommendations are based on its benefit for bone health7.
More important is your blood levels of vitamin D. If it is low, you will need to make some changes to try and bring it up.
Exposing your skin to the sun for fifteen to twenty minutes per day is the best way to get vitamin D. Your body has the ability to produce the vitamin when ultraviolet rays penetrate the skin.
There are only a few food sources of this nutrient. Include the following foods in your diet to boost your vitamin D intake: dark oily fish, fortified dairy products, and eggs8. Did you know that giving your mushrooms a suntan increases the levels of vitamin D they contain9? Place them in the sun for fifteen minutes before cooking them.
Are you wondering about what time of day you should eat the bulk of your calories? Does it make a difference? Is it better to eat more of your calories earlier in the day or later? Learn more about it in this post.
You don’t want to mess up your diet and stop losing weight. Or even worse, gain weight. But, if you are eating well is it okay to give yourself a bit of freedom?