Vitamin D is a very important nutrient which can help you with weight loss. To see how much vitamin D you need to lose weight, keep reading to find out how this vitamin can help. Keep reading to discover how much vitamin d for weight loss.
What Is Vitamin D?
You must have heard how important vitamin D is for a healthy body. And, you must have also known we get it through exposure to the sun. However, most of us do not know anything else about it. So, what exactly is vitamin D.? Well, it is a set of fat-soluble secosteroids that are necessary for better intestinal absorption of phosphate, calcium, and magnesium. This vitamin helps you maintain healthy teeth and bones, while also protecting you from several conditions and diseases such as type-1 diabetes.
Apart from that, vitamin D also enhances your brain, immune, and nervous system health. It also helps you regulate insulin levels and supports your lung function. This vitamin is necessary for better cardiovascular health. Last but not the least, vitamin D also supports you in your weight loss journey.
How to Use Vitamin D for Weight Loss?
Health professionals recommend daily sun exposure of 5-30 minutes so that our skin synthesizes vitamin D. Since sunlight is the major source of vitamin D, It is almost impossible for people living in certain areas of high altitudes to meet the daily requirements. They should consider taking supplements. But, almost 50% of the population worldwide has vitamin D deficiency.
Adults, who fall under 19-70 years of age, need at least 15 mcg (600 IU) of vitamin D a day. However, dosage should be based on body weight. One study calculated 32-36 IU of vitamin D per pound (70- 80 IU/kg). This amount may even be higher than the standard upper limit of 4,000 IU per day depending on the body weight. Moreover, doses of 10,000 IU of vitamin D a day have shown no adverse effects. It is recommended to consult a doctor before exceeding the 4,000 IU of vitamin per day.
Vitamin D levels of 20ng/ml or 50 nmol/Lare believed to be adequate to promote overall health and strong bones. A study conducted over a year with 218 overweight and obese women, with a low-calorie diet and exercise regime and adequate vitamin D supplements, lost more weight than the people who did not take vitamin D supplements. A weight loss of an average of 7 pounds (3.2 kg) was seen in women who got adequate vitamin D levels when compared to those who were vitamin D deficient.
Why Care About Vitamin D?
Vitamin D supports the growth, development and maintenance of bones and helps regulate blood pressure and the activity of immune system cells like macrophages and T cells. It also plays a critical role in promoting cell differentiation. Women who don’t get enough vitamin D may be more likely to develop cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and insulin-dependent diabetes.
Can Vitamin D Help You Lose Weight?
There is also mounting evidence that it could help you lose weight.
This article takes an in-depth look at vitamin D’s effects on weight loss.
When And How To Take Vitamin D Supplements?
Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it should be paired with high-fat foods or large meals. Water-soluble vitamins disperse in water, but fat-soluble vitamins do not dissolve in water. Vitamin D supplements can be absorbed best by the bloodstream when paired with fatty foods. To enhance absorption, pair vitamin D supplements with foods like avocados, seeds, nuts, eggs, or full-fat dairy products. As these are rich sources of fat, they will improve the absorption of vitamin D.
Some reports claim that vitamin D supplements can interfere with sleep, so try experimenting with your supplements. As long as it does not interfere with your sleep, you can try taking it along with breakfast, or with a bedtime snack. Older people, people with dark skin, and those living far from the equator may need more.
How Does Vitamin D Help In Weight Loss?
Many theories hypothesize the relationship between obesity and low vitamin D levels. Many researchers have found that people who are overweight and obese tend to consume fewer vitamin D-rich foods. Whereas some researchers point out their behavioral differences, obese people tend to expose themselves less to sunlight. Therefore, they may not be absorbing enough sunshine vitamins from the sun.
However, recent studiesconcluded that vitamin D can help in weight loss, and people with vitamin D deficiency had a higher body fat percentage and higher body mass index. Furthermore, certain enzymes that are essential to activate the vitamin D may vary between nonobese and obese people.
Another research shows that vitamin D requirements depend on body size and there is no difference between vitamin D levels in nonobese and obese people. This goes to say that overweight and obese individuals need more vitamin D than people with normal body weight. This is why obese people might have vitamin d deficiency.
Moreover, losing weight can impact your vitamin D levels. A theory also states that a reduction in body size would decrease the requirement for vitamin D. As the amount of it remains the same in the body, weight loss would increase the vitamin D levels. Some evidence shows that people with an increase in levels of vitamin D in the blood lost more weight and body fat.
Researchers reported that vitamin D can help you lose weight in many ways. Vitamin D and weight loss are due to its potential effects on fat cells. Vitamin D can diminish the formation of new fat cells in the body. Moreover, it could also stop the storage of fat cells, thereby, reducing the fat accumulation in the body.
How Much Do You Need?
It’s recommended that adults 19–70 years old get at least 600 IU (15 mcg) of vitamin D per day
However, supplementing with vitamin D may not be a “one size fits all” approach, as some research indicates that the dosage should be based on body weight.
One study adjusted vitamin D levels for body size and calculated that 32–36 IU per pound (70–80 IU/kg) is needed to maintain adequate levels
Depending on your body weight, this amount may be significantly higher than the established upper limit of 4,000 IU per day
On the other hand, doses of up to 10,000 IU per day have been reported with no adverse effects
Still, vitamin D supplements can cause toxicity when consumed in large amounts. It’s best to consult your doctor before exceeding the upper limit of 4,000 IU per day
How do you know if you are vitamin D deficient?
First, it’s important to know that there’s no reason to screen for vitamin D deficiency. In other words, most adults don’t need to be tested unless they are at high risk for having low vitamin D (see below).
A simple blood test with your primary care doctor will tell you if you are vitamin D deficient. The test measures your 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. To further complicate things, expert groups don’t agree on what level is considered deficient. However, a vitamin D level less than 20 ng/mL is considered deficient by most groups, and severe deficiency is defined as a vitamin D level of less than 12 ng/mL.
The risks of Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D is a hormone we need to absorb calcium and phosphorus from our diets, and calcium and phosphorus are minerals critical to bone health. That’s why young children who don’t get enough vitamin D can develop rickets, and older adults can experience osteoporosis and fractures. In many clinical trials, vitamin D supplementation to achieve 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels of 28 to 40 ng/mL lowered fracture risk.
Also, without vitamin D, you may experience muscle weakness. In theory, that can increase the risk of falls, although the evidence is mixed.
Vitamin D deficiency may increase your risk of heart disease and certain cancers, too. However, there is limited scientific data to suggest that supplementation beyond daily recommended amounts is required or helpful.
Vitamin D deficiency causes
To start, some people are more likely than others to have trouble getting enough vitamin D. You might be at risk for vitamin D deficiency if you:
- Live in a sun-deficient state
- Are dark skinned
- Are older (the ability to make vitamin D decreases with age)
- Rarely expose your skin to sunlight
- Have obesity or have undergone gastric bypass surgery
- Take medications that affect how quickly you process vitamin D (such as phenytoin or orlistat)
- Have a condition that impairs vitamin D absorption from your gut (like inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease)
Changes in diets, an increased use of sun protection, and higher rates of obesity have accounted for more cases of vitamin D deficiency in adults today.
What happens if I take too much vitamin D?
Though there doesn’t appear to be any toxicity associated with recommended levels of vitamin D supplementation, there are concerns when blood levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D go above 50 ng/mL. I rarely see a patient’s levels go above 50 ng/mL, and I’ve been in private practice for more than 10 years. Ideally, you want to maintain your vitamin D levels between 30 to 50 ng/mL.
Vitamin D increases how much calcium is absorbed by the gut. So one reason too much vitamin D is dangerous is because it can cause high calcium levels. This can lead to:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle weakness
- Kidney stones
Very high levels of vitamin D can cause kidney failure, irregular heart rhythms, and even death. Most often vitamin D toxicity is due to supplements, not sunshine exposure.
Other Uses of Vitamin D
As mentioned earlier, vitamin D has a significant effect on our mood. It increases the levels of the happy hormone – Serotonin. It also affects our mood and sleep regulation. Serotonin plays a major role in controlling our hunger, and it also increases fullness, thereby, decreasing calorie intake and weight gain.
Moreover, higher levels of vitamin D are linked with high levels of testosterone , which triggers weight loss. Several studies reported that higher levels of testosterone can reduce body fat and help keep up with long-term weight loss. Researchers found that vitamin D can reduce cortisol levels. Increased cortisol levels can lead to overeating and weight gain.
Moreover, minimal levels of vitamin D have been related to impaired exercise performance, as lower levels of vitamin D reduce muscle action and skeletal mineralization. Researchers also linked lower vitamin D levels with poor muscle strength aerobic capacity, and speed. So, if you want to strengthen your muscles and lose weight, you should maintain adequate levels of vitamin D. By doing so, you can lose weight as well as build muscles at the same time. Best of both worlds isn’t it?.
Vitamin D deficiency can impact both physical and mental health. It is known to cause severe bone conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis. All these conditions can give you severe bone pain in the knees, hips, and joints. Bad knees can make it difficult for you to lose weight. So it is very important to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.
Foods Rich in Vitamin D To Treat Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D (calciferol) is found naturally in very few foods such as fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, swordfish, canned tuna, herring, fish-liver oils, egg yolks, mushrooms, and liver. Under conditions of regular sun exposure, dietary vitamin D intake is insignificant. However, latitude, seasons like harsh winters, aging, use of sunblocks, and skin pigmentation can influence the synthesis of vitamin D3 by the skin. Most of the vitamin D comes from fortified milk products, breakfast cereals, and orange juice.
How Much Vitamin D Is Needed To Lose Weight?
To lose weight, you would have to do several things other than supplying your body with enough vitamin D. However, to answer your question, approximately 20ng/ml or 50 nmol/L of vitamin D levels is the optimum value. To get the best out of your weight loss journey, also consider eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Getting Vitamin D naturally, which is through sun exposure is highly suggested.