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What Are the Benefits of Vitamin D & Weight Loss?

By Laura Niedziocha ; Updated April 18, 2017

Vitamin D gets a lot of attention for its effect on your health, and because a deficiency most commonly occurs during the winter months in cold climates. The sunshine vitamin, vitamin D, is also linked to weight loss and weight gain. New evidence suggests some promising factors regarding your intake of vitamin D and the health of your body weight.

Vitamin D Deficiency

A vitamin D deficiency may make you more susceptible to weight gain. According to Shalamar Sibley of the University of Minnesota Medical School, vitamin D plays an active role in aiding weight loss through caloric restriction. Sibley suggests that a biological pathway toward weight loss is inhibited under conditions of a vitamin D deficiency.

A Vicious Circle

A deficiency in vitamin D can make it difficult for you to lose weight, but being overweight may also cause you to become deficient in vitamin D, according to James Dowd, author of "The Vitamin D Cure." Low vitamin D levels may also contribute to overweight-related chronic diseases such as arthritis, hypertension and diabetes.

Vitamin D, Sleep and Weight

Being deficient in vitamin D, even by a narrow margin, can interfere with your sleep, according to a report in the August 2012 issue of "Medical Hypotheses." In the report researchers explain that vitamin D deficiency plays a major role in the development and treatment of sleep disorders. A lack of sleep can lead to weight gain. The December 2013 "American Journal of Epidemiology" notes a study in which patients who slept 5 hours or less per night had a 40 percent greater risk of gaining weight than those who slept 7 to 8 hours per night.

Adding Vitamin D

Sibley's study sought to determine if supplemented intake of vitamin D would result in more weight lost on a calorie controlled diet. The results were positive. When participants were given 1 nanogram to milliliter of the precursor to vitamin D, weight loss increased by a half pound. When the active form of vitamin D was given, weight loss increased by a quarter pound.

Recommendations and Intakes

The relationship between vitamin D and weight loss is encouraging news. Adult male and females ranging from 14 to 50 years of age need 5 micrograms per day of vitamin D. Adults between the ages of 50 to 70 need to increase to 10 micrograms per day. Individuals over the age of 70 should take in 15 micrograms per day. Sources of vitamin D include dairy, fish, some fortified cereals and bread and sunlight. Your body is able to absorb as much vitamin D as it needs simply from being in the sun.

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