Many of us know that our bodies need vitamin D to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Too little vitamin D results in soft bones in children, known as rickets, and fragile bones in adults. Vitamin D is needed for many important functions in the body other than building strong bones such as strengthening the immune system, protecting us from cold and flu season. Vitamin D also plays a major role in the life cycle of human cells. A deficiency of this important vitamin could result in health problems such as depression, weight gain, cancers, and heart disease. Vitamin D is so important that your body makes it by itself through exposure to the sun however if you don’t expose your skin to the sun, you use a sun block when in the sun, or you have dark skin, you may be at risk of low levels of vitamin D. You can however get vitamin D from some foods such as fatty fish (sardines, mackerel, salmon, tuna), beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, and some foods fortified with vitamin D such as some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk and cereals. You can also take vitamin D in capsule or liquid drops which ensures you are getting enough.
Did you know that getting in an adequate amount of vitamin D can help you lose weight? Recently, researchers from Canada found that people with higher levels of vitamin D also have lower levels of body fat. The connection isn’t a coincidence. Vitamin D helps you feel fuller because it releases more leptin, which I have discussed in my past blogs. Leptin is a hormone made by the fat cells that is essential to weight loss for a number of reasons. It controls appetite and food intake so we don’t overeat and plays an important role in controlling body weight. Vitamin D also helps you store less fat by decreasing parathyroid hormone, which makes you hold onto fat. Best of all, vitamin D literally burns more fat by reducing the production of the stress hormone ‘cortisol’. Remember that when our cortisol levels are high, it makes the body think you are in a fight or flight situation and when that happens, the body automatically stores fat because it needs to store energy (fat) as it doesn’t know how long you’re going to fight or run for. You will need at least 3,000IU to 4,000IU per day if you want to see best results.