Does Vitamin D Affect Your Weight? Expert Insights

Does Vitamin D Affect Your Weight? Expert Insights

Vitamin D is the steroid hormone the body produces from your cholesterol when the skin is exposed to the sun. It can enhance immunity, reduce joint pain, and prevent cancer. But how does it affect your weight?

Getting the recommended amount of vitamin D can promote weight loss and help you manage your weight. Combining sun exposure and a quality vitamin D supplement can help you control your overall body fat.

Exposure to the sun may not be enough for the body’s daily vitamin D requirements. Some people get limited sunlight, while those with darker skin tones are challenged due to their high melanin that protects them from sun damage.

Vitamin D natural dietary supplements are available in various forms, including tablets, capsules, and liquids for easy ingestion. They can be highly concentrated, allowing you to take only a small amount.

In this post, we’ll look at the relationship between vitamin D and body weight. 

Is there a relationship between vitamin D and body weight?

Obese and overweight people are more likely to have lower 25-OHD blood levels and vitamin D insufficiency. According to a study, vitamin D deficiency is 24% higher in people who are overweight and 35% higher in people with obesity.

Can vitamin D help with weight loss?

According to various theories, vitamin D can suppress fat storage and reduce the formation of new cells. This limits weight gain while also aiding in fat reduction.

Vitamin D may also increase your serotonin levels, which are critical in appetite control. This powerful brain chemical acts as an appetite suppressant, curbing cravings and shutting off appetite. It makes you feel full even when your stomach is half-empty.

Can vitamin D supplement make me gain weight?

Introducing a vitamin D supplement to your body does not make you gain weight. It does the opposite by suppressing appetite to prevent hunger hangs. This makes it an excellent addition to anyone trying to lose weight.

Does vitamin D deficiency cause weight gain?

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to many diseases, including obesity and unintentional weight gain. The shortage of this nutrient can increase depression and instigate bone mass loss, which causes unnecessary weight gain.

Is there a connection between Obesity and Vitamin D Deficiency?

The key link between obesity and its associated metabolic complications is adipose tissue inflammation. Vitamin D has anti-inflammatory properties that may make it a contribution to that link.

This nutrient can enhance the development of comorbidities and aggravate the obese phenotype.

Can vitamin D supplement burn belly fat?

The most recommended nutrients for burning belly fat are niacin, vitamin B-6, and iron. This trio effectively increases your production of the amino acid L-carnitine, which helps burn fat.

Vitamin does not play the biggest role when shedding fat. It only aids in the process. 

What is the right dosage of vitamin D supplement for weight loss?

When you are between 19 and 70, the minimum vitamin D dosage you should consume daily is 15 micrograms. This is equivalent to roughly 600IU.

However, the amount may increase or decrease depending on your body weight. 

There’s no recommended amount of vitamin D to help in weight loss. This is because it is not a direct cause of weight gain.

The best way to try and manage your weight is to follow the recommended daily intake for your age. Vitamin D supplementation may improve your chances of losing fat and sticking to a constant weight.

If you want to lose weight, vitamin D increases your serotonin to healthy levels, making you feel energized and motivated. This can make it easier to adopt a healthier lifestyle and stick to a weight loss program.

How much vitamin D do I need?

There is a standard amount of vitamin D required in the body for people of all ages. However, people with vitamin D deficiency can get recommendations from health specialists to increase their intake.

According to the National Health Service (NHS), here is the recommended amount of vitamin D for all ages:

Babies

Babies under 1 year need between 8.5 to 10 micrograms a day to assist in the growth of bones and strengthen their immunity.

Children and adults

Children aged 1 year and above and adults require 10 - 15 micrograms of vitamin D daily. This also applies to people at a high risk of vitamin D deficiency, such as pregnant and breastfeeding women.

During autumn and winter, health specialists recommend supplementing vitamin D in the body. At this time, most people don’t get enough sunlight; hence, they have inadequate vitamin D.

What type of Vitamin D should I take? 

Vitamin D is crucial for body functions such as bone mineralization and density. It helps prevent osteoporosis, regulate blood sugar, and support the immune system and other body functions. 

Vitamin D is available in two different forms: vitamin D2 and D3.

Vitamin D2

Also called ergocalciferol, this nutrient is found in mushrooms and yeast. It is produced when the yeast (called ergosterol) is exposed to ultraviolet radiation.

Vitamin D2 mainly comes from plants and some fortified foods. It is also available in supplements in various forms, including liquid and capsule.

Some foods rich in vitamin D2 include fortified soya milk, almond milk, rice milk, morel, shiitake, oyster, and white button mushrooms.

You can also get high-quality vitamin D2 from various supplements and ensure you consume the required amount daily or weekly.

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, is the most potent vitamin in the body. It is produced by your body when the skin comes into contact with sunlight.

It is also readily available in animal products, including beef liver, fatty fish, and egg yolks. Cow milk and multiple dairy products may also be fortified with vitamin D3.

After spending time in the sun, your body converts the sunlight into vitamin D3. It moves to your liver and undergoes a process, transforming it into 25-hydroxyvitamin D3.

On reaching the kidneys, it goes through another process, converting it into the active form of vitamin D the body uses.

Vitamin D3 supplements are also available in tablet, capsule, or liquid form. 

Get our Organic Vitamin D3. It doesn’t have any fillers and is tailored for maximum absorption. It is also keto-friendly, non-GMO, and gluten-free. 

What are the other symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to long-term and severe conditions. Here are some symptoms that can help you detect vitamin D deficiency sooner:

Pale skin, acne, and rashes

Lack of adequate vitamin D can cause your skin to become dry, red, and itchy. It causes rashes and eczema, which accelerate skin aging.

It also causes a change in hormones, which causes frequent skin breakouts. When the body lacks the antioxidant properties of vitamin D, it develops acne.

Skin that suffers from frequent rashes, eczema, and rashes tends to age quickly. Vitamin D deficiency has a high impact on premature skin aging.

The skin is the largest body organ with a very close link to one’s overall health than most people assume. 

However, due to the risks of sun damage and skin cancer, most people don’t know how to expose themselves to the sun to reap its benefits while avoiding damage to the skin.

Vitamin D supplementation stimulates your skin cells to generate more hyaluronic acid. This natural ingredient allows your skin to retain more water, keeping it hydrated and youthful.

You should also increase your vitamin D intake as you get older. People over 65 get less exposure to the sun than younger individuals.  Their skin also finds it more challenging to convert sunlight to vitamin D, denying their bodies the required amount of the nutrient.

Muscle weakness

Having low vitamin D levels increases one’s chances of developing dynapenia. This is an age-related condition that causes loss of muscle strength.

According to a study, people with low vitamin D levels have a 70% chance of developing dynapenia than those with normal levels.

Vitamin D helps muscle repair and contraction by regulating calcium and phosphorus absorption. Insufficient vitamin D causes your body to lose bone mineral density. You may also experience less muscle strength, mass, and function.

While exposing yourself to the sun and eating foods with vitamin D can give your body adequate nutrients, you may need supplementation. Obese, overweight, and people over 65 require a higher amount of vitamin D than others.

Getting sick easily

Various studies have shown a link between respiratory tract infections and low vitamin D levels. You should consider increasing vitamin D intake if you easily develop pneumonia, bronchitis, and colds.

This nutrient has direct interaction with the cells that address respiratory infections. It supports your body’s immune health, allowing you to fight off bacteria that cause illnesses.

Vitamin D receptors are found in the immune system’s cell surfaces. When vitamin D enters the system, it minimizes inflammatory cytokines that aggravate illnesses.

It also enhances the proteins that fight off bacteria and viruses. Supplementing your vitamin D levels not only prevents sickness but also enhances recovery. Low vitamin D makes it harder for your body to bounce back when sick.

Loss of hair 

Keratnitocytes, the keratin-producing cells, metabolize vitamin D  in the skin. Keratin is found in the hair, skin, and nails. Vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency means lower keratinocytes in your hair follicles, disrupting hair growth.

Inadequate vitamin D is also linked to alopecia areata, an auto-immune condition that causes large patches of hair loss.

Vitamin D helps grow new hair follicles that help maintain hair thickness and prevent premature hair loss. 

Supplementing your body’s vitamin D status makes your hair more colorful and strong. It will rarely come off, even when washing or combing.

Rickets

Rickets, a condition mainly occurring in growing kids, causes their bones to soften, hence the classic rickets symptom, “bowing.” The legs are the main targets since they find it hard to hold weight while soft and “bow.”

Toddlers who are crawling and not walking may display symptoms of rickets through the widening of the area slightly above the wrists. 

Rickets occurs when the bones do not receive adequate calcium and phosphorus from vitamin D. There are metabolic and genetic causes of rickets. Still, the common cause is a lack of vitamin D.

Breastfeeding kids who do not receive extra vitamin D may be at an increased risk of developing rickets. They are even at a higher risk if the mother is vitamin D deficient.

The recommended vitamin D intake for breastfeeding infants is 400UI and 600UI for mothers. You can supplement vitamin D for children through drops.

Feeling depressed

Depression is a condition that affects one's thoughts, feelings, and behavior. It causes one to lose interest in previously liked activities, isolate and withdraw, lack concentration and focus, and find it difficult to sleep or eat.

During pregnancy, women with low vitamin D levels are more likely to experience postpartum depression. This is depression that occurs the days, weeks, or months after giving birth.

People with severe cases of depression often have vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency.

Vitamin D receptors are found in the heart, brain, muscles, and immune system. The body acquires and transports this vitamin to the kidney, which converts it into an active hormone that aids in calcium absorption.

Low vitamin levels may aggravate the effects of schizophrenia in adults, seasonal affective disorder, and depression. Even though a lack of this nutrient does not entirely cause depression, it contributes to its chances of occurring.

An increase in vitamin D reception in the brain helps regulate mood, which minimizes depression. You can have a daily dose of 600 IU of vitamin D to help with depression. 

Body aches

When most people get joint pain or muscle problems, their first destination is always a physical therapist or chiropractor’s clinic. However, their treatments can only provide temporary relief if you have low vitamin D levels.

Chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy treatments can minimize or eliminate body aches. But, low vitamin D levels only aggravate your health and prevent these treatments from being effective.

Vitamin D supplementation is not a cure for body aches. However, if you have vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency, this could be slowing your recovery or contributing to the overall pain.

People with chronic pain, over 50 years old, or who have rheumatoid arthritis, a condition that causes the body’s joints to weaken, can greatly benefit from vitamin D supplementation.

Not sleeping well

Vitamin D deficiency in adults and children can cause low-quality sleep, delayed bedtimes, sleeping less each night, and nocturnal awakenings. It can also increase the chances of developing a sleeping disorder.

Melatonin, the hormone that supports sleep in our bodies, relies on vitamin D for production. Low vitamin D levels result in low melatonin levels and sleep problems.

Sunlight plays a vital role in vitamin D production and sleep by helping manufacture the nutrients and regulate circadian rhythms. 

Circadian rhythms are the mental and physical processes that help you remain alert throughout the day and get ready for sleep at night.

If your circadian rhythms get misaligned with your sleep schedule, it interferes with your sleep-wake cycle. The key to maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm is to expose yourself to bright light in the morning and darkness in the evening.

Vitamin D supplementation may improve not only sleep quantity but also quality. It allows your body to feel refreshed and ready to start the day.

To learn more, read: Understanding Vitamin D Deficiency: Causes, Symptoms, and Remedies.

Who is most at risk of vitamin D deficiency?

While vitamin D deficiency can affect anyone, some are more prone to it. The people who are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency are those who:

Spend limited time in the sun

You probably don't see enough sunlight if you have a 9-5 job. Many occupations limit people's access to adequate sunlight to produce the required amount of vitamin D in the body.

Adults over 55 who may be enjoying retirement also tend to become less mobile, making it more challenging to enjoy the outdoors. This makes it harder for the body to produce enough vitamin D.

Age has some effects on your skin that make it less capable of synthesizing vitamin D efficiently as the years go by. This is why vitamin D supplementation is highly recommended in adults over 55.

Suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

IBD is a combination of Chron’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). It is a gastrointestinal inflammatory disease that is increasing in recently developed countries.

Vitamin D is quite common among IBD patients, with more cases being in urban areas than rural areas and more among breastfeeding babies than their mothers.

Vitamin D is fat-soluble, with absorption depending on your gut’s ability to take in fat. IBD is associated with fat malabsorption, which weakens your body’s vitamin D generation.

Have a darker skin tone

The epidurals of people with dark skin have more melanin than those with white skin. This makes it more difficult for the skin to use sunlight for vitamin D.

If you are dark-skinned, one of your top priorities should be meals rich in vitamin D or vitamin D supplements or both. Do not rely on sunlight to hit your vitamin D amount target.

Suffer from chronic kidney or liver disease

People suffering from liver or chronic kidney disease (CKD) have extremely low levels of vitamin D. Their bodies have little ability to convert 25-(OH)vitamin D into the active form. 

Vitamin D receptors are highly expressed in these organs and play a major role in the conversion. Vitamin D supplements are highly recommended and prescribed by health officers.

Take certain drugs

Some drugs, including some weight loss medicines, anti-seizure steroids, and certain cholesterol, affect vitamin D levels. Some minimize the body’s ability to absorb vitamin D from food and sunlight.

Seizure drugs such as primidone, carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, and oxcarbazepine can also cause the liver to produce too much vitamin D, leading to toxicity.

Too much vitamin D in your system can also adversely affect your health. You risk developing hypercalcemia, a condition where calcium builds up in your blood, leading to weakness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and bone pain.

Suffer from obesity

Obese people mainly have a body mass index (BMI) of 30+. They have a high body fat percentage, making it hard for vitamin D to circulate in the body.

Vitamin D supplements are more effective in people with a body mass index of 25 and below. Even after increasing vitamin D intake in obese people, their vitamin D levels do not go as high as those with a lower body mass index.

How do I improve my vitamin D levels?

How do I improve my vitamin D levels?

Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in the US, with 42% of adults being deficient. 50% of 1-5 year olds and 70% of 6 to 11-month babies also have vitamin D deficiency. 

Here are ways to boost your vitamin D levels:

Taking supplements

The best way for most people to get adequate vitamin D is through taking a supplement. Unlike the sun, supplements are readily available for people of all ages.

Supplements vary in dosage, and the amount your body needs depends on the current levels. For the majority, 1,000 to 4,000 IU is a safe daily dose while maintaining healthy levels.

You may need a higher intake if your vitamin D levels are extremely low. It is best to test your vitamin D levels to help you take the appropriate dose to avoid toxicity.

When buying a supplement, follow the following tips to help you make the right choice:

Look for third-party tested products

A third-party tester ensures that the product undergoes rigorous testing to verify if a supplement is free of contaminants and contains what it claims.

Various certification programs are set up to review the manufacturing processes of supplements. 

They provide an award seal to companies that pass the tests. These seals are available on all their product packages as proof of quality.

Some of these certification programs include the Banned Substances Control Group, NSF International, and others.

At Why Not Natural, our Organic Vitamin D3 with K2 has only Spirulina and no harmful Fillers. It is non-GMO and has been tested for purity & potency.

Request a certificate of Analysis (CoA)

Companies can guarantee the purity of their products by producing a certificate of analysis. If a seller hesitates to share this with you, their product may not be ideal for consumption.

The CoA is a document that details the laboratory results of an analysis. It may also include the analytical methods and specifications.

Visit the company’s website for more information

Any business selling supplements must have an online platform, including social media pages and a website. A website can tell you all about a company, from when it began to how it produces its products and more relevant information.

Check out their reviews on different platforms to determine their credibility. If a company’s products do not have a good reputation, you will find the truth online.

Avoid unauthorized third-party sellers

Third-party sellers have a reputation for cheating and selling counterfeit products. They operate without the manufacturer’s permission, making it challenging to deal with the company if anything happens to you from the supplement.

Unauthorized sellers can also obtain counterfeit products from other sources and alter the packaging. They sell their products at lower prices to make a quick, dirty buck.

Add seafood and fatty fish to your diet

Some of the richest sources of vitamin D include fatty fish and seafood such as tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, salmon, and sardines. 

The quantity of vitamin D varies among species. Seafood also contains a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids.

Spend more time in the sun

The human skin contains a type of cholesterol that acts as a progenitor to vitamin D. When exposed to the sun, this compound converts to vitamin D.

The sun is not always easily at reach for everybody. There are also other factors that can limit how much vitamin D you get from the sun. They include:

Seasons and geographical location

If you live near the equator, you are closer to the sun’s rays, allowing you to have access to sunlight all year. Contrarily, sun exposure decreases if you live farther away from the equator.

People living far from the equator should use supplements and adopt meals filled with vitamin D.

Clothing and certain sunscreens

Overexposure to sunlight increases the risk of cancer, hence the popularity of sunscreens and certain clothing for the skin. However, it is important to note that your body requires little unprotected sunlight to produce vitamin D.

Some clothing and sunscreens can block vitamin D production. Light-skinned people only need up to 15 minutes in the sun for their bodies to make adequate vitamin D for a day. People with a dark skin tone need longer.

Eat fortified foods

Few foods contain vitamin D naturally, and may be hard to get for some people. Vitamin D is added to some foods in a process called fortification.

The most commonly fortified foods include:

Cow’s milk

Cow’s milk naturally contains beneficial nutrients such as calcium, riboflavin, and phosphorus. In some countries, milk is fortified, with a cup of milk in the US containing 115UI.

Soy milk

Soy milk is the most popular plant-based milk alternative. It is fortified with vitamin D and various nutrients found in cow milk. The amount of vitamin D in soy milk differs depending on the brand.

Orange juice

Some companies have found it more effective to fortify orange juice with calcium, vitamin D, and other minerals.

Despite its popularity, orange is not everyone’s choice of juice. It may even worsen the symptoms of people with acid reflux. It also causes a spike in people living with diabetes.

Ready-to-eat cereals and oatmeal

Fortified cereals and oatmeal contain lower levels of vitamin D than natural sources. However, they are an ideal way of boosting your intake. 

Always check the nutrition label when buying such products to ensure it is fortified with vitamin D.

Buy a UV lamp

If you spend much time indoors, a UV lamp can help you produce more vitamin D. This lamp typically mimics the sun and emits UV-B light.

UV radiation has long been used to treat skin diseases such as psoriasis, localized scleroderma, and atopic dermatitis. In recent years, it has become a popular way to increase one’s vitamin D levels.

Despite being pricey, UV lamps effectively deliver what the sun does. However, like the sun, too much exposure can lead to the development of skin cancer.

You should limit your exposure to 15 minutes at a time. Also, limit the number of times you use the device daily.

Take more mushrooms

Mushrooms are the only vegetarian source of vitamin D. Like humans; these tiny plants make their own vitamin D when exposed to UV light.

The only difference is that humans generate vitamin D3 while mushrooms produce vitamin D2. Mushrooms are popular among vegetarians as they are their only source of vitamin D.

Add egg yolks to your diet

Egg yolks are rich in vitamin D and easy to introduce to your routine. However, the content differs with eggs from free-range and pasture-raised chicken, harboring up to 20% of the recommended daily intake.

Chicken that spends a lot of time indoors lays eggs with 2-5% of the required daily amount of vitamin D by the body.

The feed chicken gets also impacts how much vitamin D is in the yolk. Those that get feed enriched with vitamin D can produce eggs with as high as 100% of the amount your body requires.

Can too much vitamin D make me sick?

Can too much vitamin D make me sick?

Vitamin D deficiency is quite popular, making people turn to supplements to get adequate nutrients. However, too much vitamin D can be dangerous. Vitamin D toxicity puts you at risk of developing various severe conditions. They include:

Elevating your blood levels

When vitamin D exceeds 100 nanograms (ng) per milliliter (mL), it reaches toxic levels. This is referred to as hypervitaminosis D. The recommended vitamin D levels are 30 - 60 ng/mL.

A healthy person has a very low chance of getting vitamin D toxicity even when consuming high-dose supplements. 

You’d have to consume at least 10,000 IU of vitamin D for an extended period. Most cases result from prescription errors and inappropriate dosing.

People have tried to treat conditions such as multiple sclerosis with supplements containing extremely high levels of vitamin D, only to end up with elevated blood levels.

Increasing blood calcium levels

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium from the food you eat. Your blood calcium is also likely to increase if you have very high vitamin D levels.

The condition where your calcium levels exceed the body’s requirements is known as hypercalcemia. Its symptoms include:

  • Losing appetite
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart problems
  • Kidney stones
  • Excessive urination
  • Digestive stress

Altering your mental status

People with vitamin D toxicity also experience symptoms such as depression, confusion, and psychosis. Some extreme cases may also lead to comas.

Luckily, the mental effects of vitamin D toxicity gradually subside once you stop excessive consumption. It takes about 20 days for someone’s vitamin D levels to return to normal.

Causing kidney complications

Too much vitamin D can cause your kidney to develop injuries or even fail. High calcium levels often cause you to lose too much water through urination, which calcifies the kidneys.

Hypercalcemia can also constrict the kidney’s blood vessels, leading to minimized kidney function. Maintaining an optimal blood level is critical in helping prevent kidney complications.

Developing bone problems

Vitamin D toxicity alters how vitamin K2, a nutrient that helps maintain calcium in the bones, works. Vitamin D interferes with its actions, making you prone to bone fractures.

Vitamin D supplementation of the appropriate quantity does not necessarily increase your bone density. However, taking too much vitamin D for a long period can decrease your bone density.

Which is the best strategy for safe vitamin D supplementation?

Our bodies are different and may respond differently to vitamin D supplementation. Before taking any supplements, get tested to determine the extra amount you need to take.

A health professional can recommend your daily intake with minimal chances of making mistakes. They will also consider any conditions you may have or any other drugs you may be taking that might interfere with supplementation.

Takeaway: Vitamin D supplementation can help with weight loss

Various studies have proven a link between vitamin D and weight management. Ensuring your body gets the recommended amount of vitamin D may directly or indirectly help you lose and manage weight.

For example, your serotonin levels increase with adequate vitamin D, keeping you more energetic. This makes it easier to stick to a weight loss program that may involve vigorous activities such as exercising.

At Why Not Natural, we offer a wide range of all-natural supplements. Some of our products are highly concentrated, with vitamin D3-K2 capsules having 10,000 IU of D3 per capsule. 

Visit our website to get our vitamin D supplements today!

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