The new research regarding the D connection to obesity is so compelling that I felt it was high time to detail the latest D-iscoveries.
A 2010 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that subjects with healthy vitamin D levels lost about twice as much weight as those with the lowest levels, and there is plenty of “skinny” science to back it up.
So, if you’ve been carrying around 10 to 15 extra pounds, the “sunshine” vitamin just might be the missing link.
Here’s a snapshot of the mounting D research:
- Individuals with higher levels of vitamin D are less likely to become obese in the first place.
- The higher the vitamin D levels before starting a diet, the more successful the weight loss results, primarily in the belly region.
- D works with calcium to help reduce cortisol production, the stress hormone that causes you to store belly fat to begin with.
- Adequate levels of vitamin D in the bloodstream prompt fat cells to slow down their fat-storing efforts, while low levels of D cause levels of calcitrol and parathyroid (PTH) hormones to rise, causing the body to store fat instead of burning it.
- Vitamin D triggers the body to release more leptin—the “stop eating, you’re full” hormone that signals the brain that you’re no longer hungry. D deficiency inhibits leptin from communicating with the brain, which leads to overeating and of course, weight gain.
- Low vitamin D levels lead to insulin resistance, a major factor in the obesity epidemic.
Are You D Deficient?
Besides packing on belly fat and the inability to lose weight, other symptoms include fatigue, depression, low immunity, greater susceptability to flus and viruses, and joint and bone aches and pains. Only those of us living below 34 degrees north latitude (a line connecting Los Angeles, CA and Columbia, SC) actually get enough sunlight for vitamin D production year-round.
How to Boost Your D Stores
With the summer sun fading fast, and fall rapidly approaching, we can’t rely on rays alone. Start by adding D-rich foods to your diet like button and shitake mushrooms, eggs, salmon, and sardines.
When it comes to supplementation, I always suggest D3 (cholecalciferol), as it’s the type of vitamin D the body naturally produces in the skin in response to sun exposure. I’ve found Thorne D-5000 to be the very best dietary supplement out there because it contains pure, undiluted D3 without added preservatives. This is in line with the Vitamin D Council’s recommendation of 5,000 IU of vitamin D daily for adults. Children can take 1,000 IU per 25 pounds of body weight daily. Blood levels for adults should ideally range between 50 and 80 ng/mL, year round according to the D Council.
One thing’s for sure—I have D-etermined that the “sunshine” vitamin may be the weight loss catalyst of the century!