Does vitamin D help you lose weight?
Once more popular than it is today tanning has been eclipsed by the knowledge that it might not be good for your skin or health. Skin cancer is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer so tanning lotion is often replaced with sunscreen and baking in the sun is less popular than it was.
Have we gone overboard about avoiding the sun and are we creating a vitamin D deficiency at the expense of our health and fitness as a result?
Vitamin D deficiency is currently an epidemic in North America and its deficiency can result in a wide range of serious diseases including cancer, rickets, osteoporosis and diabetes. Vitamin D deficiency has even recently linked to weight gain from increased fat storage as well as muscle weakness – neither are good news for sports people.
This article illustrates what may be causing you to become vitamin D deficient, how much vitamin D you really need and the simplest way to get it. The best vitamin D supplements to take and which vitamin D rich foods to eat are also examined so you can get optimum vitamin D for your health and help maximise your fitness and fat loss.
Some suggest that vitamin D may be the most underrated vitamin, possibly because it’s available in abundance for free (so can’t be patented and sold by pharmaceuticals).
Our primary source of vitamin D is the sun, however, since skin cancer scares in the media we have avoided sun exposure and now more people unknowingly suffer from vitamin D deficiency than ever before.
A combination of increased working hours, a cultural shift towards indoor activities such as video games, internet and other high-tech computer related activities and the multi-billion dollar skin care industry pushing sun screens and other skin protection or anti-ageing related products on the market, may exacerbate the problem.
Important Characteristics Of Vitamin D
Consider these important characteristics of vitamin D as suggested by the expert in vitamin D research, Dr. Michael Holick (The author of “The UV Advantage”)
- Vitamin D is produced by your skin in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation from natural sunlight.
- The healing rays of natural sunlight (that generate vitamin D in your skin) cannot penetrate glass. So you don’t generate vitamin D when sitting in your car or home.
- It is nearly impossible to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from your diet. Sunlight exposure is the only reliable way to generate vitamin D in your own body.
- A person would have to drink ten tall glasses of vitamin D fortified milk each day just to get minimum levels of vitamin D into their diet.
- The further you live from the equator, the longer exposure you need to the sun in order to generate vitamin D. Canada, the UK and most U.S. states are far from the equator.
- People with dark skin pigmentation may need 20 – 30 times as much exposure to sunlight as fair- skinned people to generate the same amount of vitamin D. That’s why prostate cancer is epidemic among black men—it’s a simple, but widespread, sunlight deficiency.
- Sufficient levels of vitamin D are crucial for calcium absorption in your intestines. Without sufficient vitamin D, your body cannot absorb calcium, rendering calcium supplements useless.
- Chronic vitamin D deficiency cannot be reversed overnight: it takes months of vitamin D supplementation and sunlight exposure to rebuild the body’s bones and nervous system.
- Even weak sunscreens (SPF=8) block your body’s ability to generate vitamin D by 95%. This is how sunscreen products actually cause disease—by creating a critical vitamin deficiency in the body.
- It is impossible to generate too much vitamin D in your body from sunlight exposure: your body will self-regulate and only generate what it needs.
- If it hurts to press firmly on your sternum, you may be suffering from chronic vitamin D deficiency right now.
- Vitamin D is “activated” in your body by your kidneys and liver before it can be used.
- Having kidney disease or liver damage can greatly impair your body’s ability to activate circulating vitamin D.
- The sunscreen industry doesn’t want you to know that your body actually needs sunlight exposure because that realization would mean lower sales of sunscreen products.
- Even though vitamin D is one of the most powerful healing chemicals in your body, your body makes it absolutely free. No prescription required.
- 32% of doctors and med school students are vitamin D deficient.
- 40% of the U.S. population is vitamin D deficient.
- 42% of African American women of childbearing age are deficient in vitamin D.
- 48% of young girls (9-11 years old) are vitamin D deficient.
- Up to 60% of all hospital patients are vitamin D deficient.
- 76% of pregnant mothers are severely vitamin D deficient, causing wide spread vitamin D deficiencies in their unborn children, which predisposes them to type 1 diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia later in life. 81% of the children born to these mothers were deficient.
- Up to 80% of nursing home patients are vitamin D deficient.
Diseases And Conditions Caused By Vitamin D Deficiency
Not Only Does Vitamin D Help You Lose Weight, It Helps You Stay Free From Disease Too
Not only does vitamin D help you lose weight, but the lack of vitamin D cab actually cause disease.
- Osteoporosis is commonly caused by a lack of vitamin D, which greatly impairs calcium absorption.
- Sufficient vitamin D prevents prostate cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, depression, colon cancer and schizophrenia.
- “Rickets” is the name of a bone-wasting disease caused by vitamin D deficiency.
- Vitamin D deficiency may exacerbate type 2 diabetes and impair insulin production in the pancreas.
- Obesity impairs vitamin D utilization in the body, meaning that obese people need twice as much vitamin D.
- Vitamin D is used around the world to treat Psoriasis.
- Vitamin D deficiency causes schizophrenia.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder is caused by a melatonin imbalance initiated by lack of exposure to sunlight.
- Chronic vitamin D deficiency is often misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia because its symptoms are so similar: muscle weakness, aches and pains.
- Your risk of developing serious diseases like diabetes and cancer is reduced 50% – 80% through simple, sensible exposure to natural sunlight 2-3 times each week.
- Infants who receive vitamin D supplementation (2000 units daily) have an 80% reduced risk of developing type I diabetes over the next twenty years.
The great thing about vitamin D, is that no harmful effects occur from getting too much of it naturally from the sun, and since sunshine is the best source of vitamin D, you don’t need to pay for it.
The only thing you have to pay attention to is getting sufficient sunlight without overexposure, which can damage your skin and make you susceptible to skin cancer.
If you’re caucasian, all you need is about 5 to 10 minutes of direct sun exposure 2 – 3 times a week. As stated above, keep in mind that as your skin pigmentation gets darker, you’ll need more sun exposure in order to get adequate vitamin D.
If You Can’t Be Out In The Sun
Take A Vitamin D Supplement In Winter
Does vitamin D help you lose weigh if you can’t be out in the sun on a regular basis?
For example seasonally in the northern latitudes then vitamin D supplementation could be an easy fix.
Taking vitamin D supplements or cod liver oil supplements in the range or 1000 – 10,000 IU per day is suggested. The exact amount will vary with each individual depending on how deficient they are to begin with and where they live.
The higher the latitude the weaker the sun, so if you live closer to the equator you’ll need less direct sun exposure compared to someone living closer to the arctic or ant-arctic.
How Does Vitamin D Help You Lose Weight
Vitamin D And Muscle Weakness
Not only does vitamin D help you lose weight, but a lack of it can lead to weight gain!
Vitamin D is amazing. In addition to the serious illness associated with vitamin D deficiency, not only does vitamin D help you lose weight, it is also linked to increased fat deposition and muscle weakness.
Athletic performance and vitamin D are closely linked and according to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism it has been shown that vitamin D deficiency causes an increase of fat infiltration into the muscles, causing muscle weakness as well as weight gain.
Whatever your performance goals, this will have serious detrimental effects on your performance. To further exacerbate this link, excess vitamin D can get stored in the fatty tissue trapping it and rendering the vitamin D unusable to the body. This is why people with higher body fat percentages need to get more vitamin D in order to avoid being deficient.
How Does Vitamin D Help You Lose Weight?
How To Get Enough Vitamin D
If you’re wondering does vitamin D help you lose weight, then you’ll want to know how to ensure sufficient vitamin D and avoid any unnecessary illness and weight gain. Here’s how:
Get enough natural sun exposure. Just 5 – 10 minutes a day 2 – 3 days a week may be all you need depending on the color of your skin as well as where you live. The more fair your skin, the less sun exposure you need.
The recommended amount of vitamin D supplementation is 2000 – 10,000 IU per day. The amount varies with each individual according to their individual history of vitamin D deficiency. The good thing is there are no known harmful effects of taking too much vitamin D.
Vitamin D 3 is the active form of vitamin D, so it is the best form of supplementation. You can also take cod liver oil supplements from a trusted source as well.
Foods high in vitamin D are fatty fish such as sardines, mackerel and salmon. Keep in mind that some of these fish may have high levels of PCB’s. So make sure to get your fish from a reliable natural source.
Orange juice and Milk do not naturally contain vitamin D. It must be fortified with vitamin D. However, it’s not considered a good source since orange juice is high in sugar and too many people have intolerance to dairy.
Apply sunscreen lotion on your skin after you get the recommended amount of sun exposure. Also, keep in mind that not all sun screen lotions are the same. Try and avoid lotions with any known chemicals and paraben that have been linked to causing cancer and other serious illnesses.
Does Vitamin D Help You Lose Weight?
So does vitamin D help you lose weight?
In conclusion vitamin D deficiency is abundant in many population groups, for many different reasons. It is an underlying cause of many conditions and has recently been linked with obesity and sports performance.
Vitamin D deficiency can be reduced with moderate exposure to sunshine, good eating habits and supplements. As athletes these lifestyle choices will reward us with excellent sports performance and robust health, well being and immune system.
If you have any vitamin D related questions or comments then please do get in touch. If you feel that you need more nutrition support here are a couple of next steps that might be helpful. You might want to read this ultimate weight loss guide before doing anything else. Once you’ve read that you might want to learn more about online weight loss coaching where we can help you develop the skills to eat, move and live well.
Hope this helps,