We look at the official guidance on our need for Vitamin D, and the evidence on vitamin D and weight loss.
As most of us know, the body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors. However some of us don’t get enough vitamin D from sunlight for various reasons. NHS Choices recommends that you take a vitamin D supplement every day containing 400IUs (10mcg) (and not more than 4,000 IUs) of vitamin D throughout the year if you aren’t often outdoors. If you are outdoors a lot then it recommends taking vitamin D only between October and early March.
Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods, but probably not enough to meet our daily needs. Sources include oily fish,red meat,liver,egg yolks and fortified foods. Interestingly, some countries fortify milk with vitamin D but this is not done in the UK. Instead we advise people to take supplements.
What is the evidence for vitamin D and weight loss?
There does seem to be an association between having a high waist circumference and low levels of vitamin D as found in this recent study. However it is not known whether the association is cause or effect. For example perhaps slimmer people tend to spend more time outside walking.
Taking a vitamin D supplement will have other benefits as well as potentially helping with weight loss. A recent study has found a link between being low in vitamin D and increased risk of Diabetes II.
It is certainly worth getting out and enjoying the sunshine every day. We would also suggest following NHS Guidance and taking a supplement if you don’t get out in the sun much.