The Importance of Vitamin D for Weight Loss

April 24, 2018

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email_vitaminDnowordsAs the wintry cold begins to retreat and we dive into the deep end of Spring, the longer sunny days offer more than just an increase in temperature. They give us all an opportunity to reap the benefits of vitamin D, which is an essential vitamin to general good health and weight management.

Often called “the sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D helps to naturally strengthen bones. The recommended daily allowance for vitamin D is 600 IU, but this number can be as high as 1,000 IU per day if you are not getting enough sunlight. We are facing a worldwide deficiency in vitamin D. In the U.S. alone, up to 40% of people intake an inadequate amount. This is most likely caused by changes to in people’s daily environment as work and modern life moves indoors. People previously spent more time outside, which would provide ample exposure to necessary sunlight.

In addition to improving bone and skeletal health, why else is getting enough vitamin D important?

Reduce the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Vitamin D can improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels. This will lower the chance of insulin resistance, which can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. An increased flow of vitamin D can better regulate blood glucose levels, which is extremely beneficial in fighting diabetes.

Aid in Weight Loss: Many people facing weight problems have been shown to have major vitamin D deficiencies. On the other hand, healthy vitamin D levels can lower parathyroid  hormone (PTH) levels. Over the long-term, this can promote weight loss and lower the risk of obesity. In addition to its effect of PTH levels, the sunshine vitamin may also lower cortisol  levels, which at increased levels can lead to an increase in abdominal fat.

Fight Fatigue and Boost Energy: Adding vitamin D to someone who is deficient in it can  increase muscle function and combat muscle weakness. By increasing your muscle function, you will naturally boost your energy. This increase in energy levels will allow you to better operate throughout the day and provide the needed burst to get out and get active!

The best way to determine if you have vitamin D deficiency is a blood test performed by your medical provider. If you find you are running low on the sunshine vitamin, there are some simple ways to amp up your intake, even if you find yourself inside all day.

  1. Try going for an early walk before heading to work. This gives you a double dose of weight loss benefits. You boost your natural intake of vitamin D as well as gives your heart and muscles a healthy workout. While the sun won’t literally melt off the pounds, it will set you up with a good dose of Vitamin D and a beautiful environment to get in some exercise. So, set your alarm fifteen minutes early and go take a stroll in the morning sun!
  1. Eat more foods that are rich in vitamin D. Some of these foods include: fish, such as salmon or tuna, egg yolks, especially from pasture-raised chickens, wild mushrooms, and any food fortified with vitamin D, such as milk or orange juice. It can be difficult to consume the necessary amounts of vitamin D from food alone, but luckily there are other options.
  1. Take a vitamin D supplement. You shouldn’t take any vitamin or supplement before consulting your medical provider, but they will often recommend vitamin D supplements to resolve deficiencies. Supplementing doesn’t mean you should forego the other means of getting your vitamin D, but rather they should act as way to make up for what you couldn’t get throughout your day.

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that many around the world are lacking. More sunlight can aid in fighting this deficiency. This doesn’t give you a pass to spend all day outside drenched in tanning oil, as UVA rays can be damaging to the skin. You should, however, get out there and enjoy the sun!

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