Vitamin D contributes to optimal physical health through regulating levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood, enabling absorption of calcium and helping control diabetes. Obtained through natural food sources, dietary supplements and sun exposure, vitamin D has also demonstrated benefits with the immune system, osteoporosis, a reduction in risk factors for certain types of cancer and managing hypertension. Clinical studies are increasingly finding the role vitamin D has in weight loss and the ability to maintain oneself at an ideal weight.
Sources of Vitamin D
Vitamin D can be found naturally in foods including fish, fortified milk, yogurt and beef liver as well as through dietary supplements. Sun exposure is an effective method to meet the body’s need for vitamin D and it is advised that individuals aim for 5-30 minutes of direct sunlight, two times per week, to benefit from this source. However, it is important to balance sun exposure as a way to enhance production of vitamin D with the inherent risks presented by ultraviolet rays and utilize sunscreen during all other outdoor periods. In regards to food consumption, not all fish provide equal amounts of vitamin D and certain types of fish contain substantially greater vitamin content than others. Specifically, fatty fish such as swordfish, salmon, catfish and tuna fish are the best choices for consumption.
Support for the Connection Between Vitamin D and Weight Loss
Body fat typically absorbs vitamin D, making it difficult to reap the benefits of consuming food sources and dietary supplements containing the vitamin. Leptin is a naturally-occurring hormone that is essential in signaling to the brain when hunger needs have been fulfilled and a person should stop eating. Interestingly, leptin functioning is compromised when a vitamin D deficiency exists, and therefore overweight individuals may be more susceptible to continued eating following cessation of hunger cues. An increased amount of time spent indoors and not engaged in physical activity also contributes to missing the benefits offered by time spent outdoors in the sun.
A study cited in the Science Daily discusses findings by scientists at the University of Minnesota, further advancing knowledge of the role vitamin D plays in weight loss. They discovered that the individual’s vitamin level at the beginning of a low-calorie weight loss regimen could predict the overall resulting weight loss. For each additional 1ng/mL of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol found in the participant’s body, there was an average increase in weight loss of one-half pound. The 25-hydroxycholecalciferol is a biomarker of vitamin D levels present in the body although it does not indicate the amount stored in tissues. Researchers also found that for every increase of 1ng/mL of active vitamin D present in the body, participants lost one-quarter pound (Science Daily, 12th June 2009).
Researchers and medical professionals recognize the contribution studies have made to supporting consumption and production of vitamin D in the body to enhance physical well-being and its role in weight loss. Studies have also looked at the role calcium in combination with the precursor of vitamin D has on weight loss and they have demonstrated promise. Although the connection has not been firmly established on vitamin D levels and weight loss, it is clearly advantageous for individuals to consistently include fatty fish in their diet and consider dietary supplements to meet their daily needs. Exposure to sun in a safe manner can also increase production of this essential daily vitamin and patients can continue these discussions with their primary care physician.
Author Bio : Betsy T
Betsy is an experienced nutritionist with over 12 years in the industry. She is also part of My Diet Planr, the unique personalised diet planner which helps you reach your ideal weight the natural way.