Why should I consume vitamin D if I want to lose weight?

Keri Peterson, MD
Internal Medicine

New research suggests that vitamin D can help you lose weight, says internal medicine specialist Dr. Keri Peterson. To learn more about the weight-loss benefits of vitamin D, including its ability to burn stubborn belly fat, watch this video.

Consuming enough vitamin D may help you lose weight. Researchers at the University of Minnesota measured the levels of vitamin D in the blood of men and women right before they started a weight-loss diet. Eleven weeks later, at the end of the diet, the researchers found that those dieters who had started with higher levels of a particular form of vitamin D lost more weight -- an extra half pound for every additional 1 nanogram per milliliter (ng/mL) of vitamin D in their blood. The people who had higher vitamin D levels also lost more fat from their abdominal area.

Too little vitamin D in the blood may interfere with the functioning of leptin, a hormone that signals to your brain that you're full and need to stop eating. Replenishing vitamin D seems to restore leptin's normal functioning. Talk to your own doctor about the best ways to get the vitamin D you need.
Dr. Andrea Pennington, MD
Integrative Medicine
New evidence suggests that your level of vitamin D may actually be a predictor of your ability to lose fat when starting a reduced calorie diet. In one clinical study higher baseline levels of vitamin D predicted fat loss, especially in the abdominal area. Being overweight compounds the vitamin D deficiency problem because excess body fat absorbs and holds onto vitamin D, making it unavailable to the body. The absence of vitamin D interferes with the function of a hormone called leptin, which signals to the brain that you are full and should stop eating. When leptin is low you feel hungry all the time and not satisfied even after eating a full meal. Luckily, replenishing vitamin D in the bloodstream to normal levels restores leptin's actions and may support your weight loss efforts.

Getting enough vitamin D, namely 1,000 to 2,000 International Units (IU) a day can be a challenge from diet sources alone. Supplementation is often needed. Multivitamins typically provide 400 IU. Actually the best source of D is that which is derived from the sun, as this form stays in the body longer with greater lasting benefits.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.