Vitamin D and Weight Loss

By Nicole Pierce, ND

You may think you get enough vitamin D through sun exposure, but the fact is, three out of four Americans have insufficient vitamin D levels. Even people in sunny climates are susceptible, as sunscreen and air pollution reduce your skin’s ability to make D by as much as 90 to 99 percent. When I run routine blood tests in the office, it is with surprising regularity that my Healthy Body Reset patients’ results reveal 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels well below the optimal levels of 50-70ng/mL. In the context of their struggle to lose weight, this is significant: recent studies have shown a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and weight gain.

Whether obesity itself contributes to a low vitamin D level or if it’s the other way around, it is clear that low vitamin D status could encourage more fat to be stored in the abdomen, which may threaten long-term health. Additionally, overweight and obese people may be less able to convert vitamin D into its hormonally active form. A new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that insufficient vitamin D levels were associated with increasing weight, body fat, and belly fat. Another study of 4,659 women showed that those participants who had the lowest D levels at the start gained an average of 2 pounds over 4.5 years. By the end of the study, these low D women were nearly 10 pounds heavier than those who had just the right amount of the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D affects hormone regulation in the body and appears to be connected to glucose and fat (lipid) metabolism. Every cell in your body needs D to function properly—including fat cells. Special receptors for D signal whether you should burn fat or simply store it; when D plugs into these receptors, it’s like a key that revs your metabolism. Meanwhile, receptors in your brain need D to keep hunger and cravings in check, as well as to pump up levels of the mood-elevating chemical serotonin. Vitamin D also optimizes your body’s ability to absorb other important weight-loss nutrients, including calcium.

In addition to altering metabolism and leading to weight gain, low Vitamin D levels increase the risk of certain cancers, autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, infections, depression and heart disease, as well as insulin resistance and diabetes. The Healthy Body Reset program is unique because it is a complete weight loss program that utilizes diet as well as supplementation to address each person’s weight loss needs while also addressing their overall health and wellness.

For complete and individualized testing of all your nutrients and hormones, including vitamin D, and for help with weight loss no matter what the cause, call Boise Natural Health today for an appointment.