Recent studies conducted on vitamin D and weight loss have sparked off a flurry of questions relating to the connection between both. Although proof exists to suggest a definite link between obesity and deficiency of vitamin D in the body (a condition suffered by nearly 75% of the American teen and adult population), it’s still unclear which causes which. Does vitamin D deficiency cause obesity or does obesity lead to vitamin D deficiency?
In spite of this confusion, one fact has been established by researchers from the University of Minnesota. In a study headed by Dr. Shalamar Sibley, it was found that people suffering from excessive weight problems have more success in losing weight when vitamin D levels in their bodies are increased. In a study group that consisted of 38 overweight respondents of both sexes, those people whose vitamin D levels were increased lost up to ½ a pound more than the group that was advised to follow a weight loss diet plan alone.
Interestingly, a combination of Vitamin D, calcium and sunlight has been shown to be effective in assimilating food and regulating normal blood sugar levels in the body. In fact, lack of vitamin D often leads to lack of calcium, which causes the body to produce more of synthase – an enzyme that is responsible for converting calories into fat. With increase in synthase production comes the risk of obesity. That’s probably one of the main reasons why rise in body’s vitamin D levels aids weight loss.
There’s yet another reason why you would want to include more vitamin rich food in your diet. Among post-menopausal women, vitamin D plays an important role in thwarting weight gain that is typical during this phase. A study conducted in 2007 that included over 36,000 postmenopausal women proved as much. All respondents were given 400 IU of vitamin D in supplement form. This was accompanied by 1,000 mg of calcium as well. After three years, data gathered during the study showed that participants who were taking the supplements were less likely to put on weight.
So, really, what is the connection between vitamin D and weight loss? Well, vitamin D is a pro-hormone that gets activated in the kidneys. In this activated form, it becomes a powerful hormone that works towards controlling growth in the body’s cell. When there is sufficient amount of vitamin D in the body, it causes the fat cells in the body to shrink. On the other hand, absence of vitamin D can cause these cells to multiply rapidly, leading to excessive weight gain.
Now you know the importance of vitamins for weight loss, the next question is how much vitamin D is important for the body? Although current guidelines place the daily intake between 400 and 600 IU, experts are of the opinion that this figure is misleading. Daily intake needs to be between 4,000 and 10,000 IU per day for the vitamin to have a positive effect on your body.
Finally, let’s look at the sources of vitamin d for weight loss. Undoubtedly, the best way to boost the level of vitamin D in the body is natural sunlight. In its absence, the food sources you can consider are milk & dairy products, cod liver oil, egg yolk, salmon, mollusks, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and shrimp. Make sure you include these foods in your diet and avoid overcooking them to retain maximum amount of vitamin D in them.