Key message: Taking vitamin D supplements can aid weight loss in obese and overweight people who are deficient in the vitamin.
Action point: Check your vitamin D levels with your health practitioner and then use this trusty app to track your vitamin D levels! http://dminder.ontometrics.com/
If you’re trying to lose weight, getting a healthy dose of vitamin D could help.
Vitamin D – also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ – is vital to strong bones and teeth and a healthy immune system. It is also especially important for menopausal women. As women get older, their bodies lose the capacity to activate vitamin D, which can increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Now researchers have linked low levels of vitamin D to obesity.
A Link Between low Vitamin D and Weight Gain?
Researchers at the University of Milan recruited 400 obese or overweight adults who were split into three groups – those who took no supplements, those who took 25,000 vitamin D units a month, and those who took 100,000.
All participants were put on the same balanced, low-calorie diet.
A significantly greater weight decrease and reduction in waist circumference was observed in both groups that took the supplements.
Those who took 25,000 units lost an average of 3.8kg, while the figure was 5.4kg for the 100,000 unit group and 1.2kg amongst those who took no supplements.
The study authors said:
“The present data indicate that in obese and overweight people with vitamin D deficiency, vitamin D supplementation aids weight loss and enhances the beneficial effects of a reduced-calorie diet.
“All people affected by obesity should have their levels of vitamin D tested to see if they are deficient, and if so, begin taking supplements.”
As most women experience weight gain during the menopause transition, it’s, it’s a great idea for women to pay attention to their intake of vitamin d at this time of life.
The Sunshine Vitamin
The best source of vitamin D is UV-B radiation from the sun.
According the Cancer Council of Australia, it’s important to balance the risk of skin cancer from too much sun exposure with maintaining adequate vitamin D levels 2.
For most people living in Australia, they recommend maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D in summer by spending only a few minutes of exposure to sunlight on your face, arms and hands or the equivalent area of skin on either side of the peak UV periods (the middle of the day when UV levels are most intense) on most days of the week.
In winter in the southern parts of Australia, where UV radiation levels are less intense, people may need about two to three hours of sunlight to the face, arms and hands, or equivalent area of skin, spread over a week to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.
In winter in northern parts of Australia, people will continue to maintain adequate vitamin D levels going about their day-to-day activities, so it is not necessary to deliberately seek UV radiation exposure.
1. Vitamin D Supplements May Aid Weight Loss For Obese And Overweight People, Study Finds. Huffington Post, 2015. Accessed online May 21, http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/05/08/vitamin-d-supplements-weight-loss-study_n_7239722.html
European Congress on Obesity, news release, May 7, 2015