Vitamin D and Weight Loss

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a vital role in helping you lose weight and maintaining good health.

Vitamin D is often called the “sunshine” vitamin.  Vitamin D deficiencies are incredibly prevalent in our society, even for people who live in places where it’s sunny most of the year.  Research has proven that low Vitamin D levels are the result of jobs that keep us indoors, as well as people heeding warnings about sunlight causing skin cancer.

Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient.  It’s required by our bodies to absorb calcium, regulate blood sugar levels, reduce hypertension, and ensure proper immune system function. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it is also an essential component of our hormonal function.  We are not talking just estrogen and testosterone, but body hormones too, like insulin and thyroid hormones and cholesterol and lipids that the body uses to communicate.   A proper Vitamin D level is crucial for balanced regulation of our body hormones.

Risks for Deficiency

Weight Gain
Obesity is a major cause of vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is fat soluble and thus becomes irreversibly sequestered into the fat pool. Contributing factors include a body mass index greater than 30, and lack of exercise or outdoor activity. Obesity allows for a lesser amount of Vitamin D in the body tissues and bloodstream, where it’s needed most.

Inadequate exposure to the sun
Darker skin requires up to 5 times the length of sun exposure to produce Vitamin D. Ultraviolet B Light, the sunlight responsible for providing Vitamin D, is at its peak from 10:00 am to 2:00pm. The length of time needed in the sunshine is defined by how long you can be exposed before your skin begins to turn slightly red. Exposure varies from person to person, depending on your skin type. Adequate sunlight exposure can provide your body with the equivalent of 10,000 IUs of Vitamin D.

Fifteen to twenty minutes per day in the sun is enough time for most people to produce sufficient Vitamin D. The conversion process of Vitamin D slows down as we age. For example, a 70-year-old person’s skin can synthesize only 25% as much vitamin D as a young person.

People who are lactose intolerant and those following a vegan diet are at a higher risk for deficiency. The reason is they consume less Vitamin D fortified foods like dairy products. Malabsorption syndromes put people at higher risk for low Vitamin D levels like Crohn’s Disease and Cystic Fibrosis.

Vitamin D Supplementation

Am I Deficient?
The only way to find out if you are deficient in Vitamin D is to have this level tested. For optimum health, blood levels should be between 32-46ng/ml year-round, in both children and adults. A proper Vitamin D level is especially important for healthy weight loss.

The dose of Vitamin D is mainly dependent upon the degree of deficiency you have. If you are only mildly deficient, a dose of 1,000 – 5,000 IU’s is sufficient. If your vitamin level is significantly inadequate, pharmaceutical prescriptions may be required to bring Vitamin D levels into a healthy range safely.

Can I get too much?
Our bodies store Vitamin D in our fat cells. A person could never overdose from Vitamin D from sun exposure because the extra sunlight begins breaking down the Vitamin D that is forming. However, too much sun is not suitable for our skin and is associated with an increased risk of skin cancers. The primary form of Vitamin D has a half-life of between 10-19 days.

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