A new study suggests that adding vitamin D to the diet may help with weight loss. Could this vitamin play a role in solving the obesity problem?
It seems like there’s no end to the incredible health benefits of vitamin D. This important vitamin not only helps to maintain strong bones, but appears to help ward off a variety of chronic diseases ranging from diabetes to certain types of cancer. Now, a new study shows that adding vitamin D to the diet may help with weight loss. Could vitamin D play an important role in the fight against obesity?
Adding Vitamin D for Weight Loss? – The Study
This study conducted at the University of Minnesota placed thirty-eight participants, both men and women, on a low calorie diet for eleven weeks. Blood levels of vitamin D were measured at the beginning of the study and again eleven weeks later. The results? It was found that those dieters who had higher levels of vitamin D in their bloodstream lost more weight than those who didn’t. For every 1 ng/ml rise in vitamin D level, the participant lost 0.2 mg. more weight, showing a linear relationship between vitamin D levels and weight loss. This suggests that adding vitamin D to a weight loss diet could result in greater weight loss.
Vitamin D and Obesity
This isn’t the first time vitamin D has been associated with obesity. Some studies have shown that vitamin D levels are associated not only with obesity but also with metabolic syndrome and diabetes due to its effect on insulin sensitivity. It’s been shown that vitamin D lowers secretion of leptin, a hormone that signals the brain that it’s time to stop eating. In addition, it’s been suggested that obese people don’t absorb vitamin D as well as those of normal weight and are more likely to have deficiencies in this vitamin.
Should You Add Supplemental Vitamin D?
Although larger studies are needed to confirm whether adding vitamin D to the diet can help with weight loss and obesity, there are lots of other good reasons to add vitamin D in the form of supplements. Not only is it thought to reduce the risk of a variety of diseases; deficiency can cause muscle discomfort, decreased energy level, fatigue, and may make symptoms of depression worse.
Unfortunately, few Americans are getting the levels of vitamin D needed for good health. The best source of natural vitamin D is the sun. When sunlight strikes the skin, a vitamin D precursor present on the skin surface is converted to an active form of vitamin D that can undergo further processing by the body. Unless a person gets at least ten minutes of direct sunlight on exposed skin each day, there’s a good chance that vitamin D deficiency exists and adding vitamin D in the form of supplements may be needed.
Adding Vitamin D – What About Foods?
Most foods with the exception of fatty fish and vitamin D fortified foods are inadequate sources of vitamin D. Even vitamin D fortified foods such as milk contain low amounts, making diet a poor way of meeting vitamin D requirements. The best solution may be have blood levels of vitamin D checked to see whether adding vitamin D in the form of a supplement is needed. Vitamin D levels can be checked by most doctors.