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Vitamin D Weight Loss 2022: Dosage, How To Use & How It Help

Lakshmi Vemuri

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Ramakrishnan, G., Ph.D

vitamin d weight loss

Did you know the sunshine vitamin produced in our skin also burns body fat? Yes, you read it right. Apart from building strong bones, brightening up our mood, and boosting the immune system, vitamin D also helps us lose weight. Consuming adequate amounts of vitamin D would aid in weight loss. It Is a fat-soluble vitamin in the family of compounds that comprise D1, D2, D3. 

One can get vitamin D through a limited number of foods, however, people are mostly dependent on supplements. But the most natural way to get this sunshine vitamin is through sun rays. So, summer is the time to get back into shape. Find out the best ways to lose weight in summer

How much vitamin D is needed to lose weight?

To lose weight, you would have to do several things other than supplying your body with enough vitamin D. However, to answer your question, approximately 20ng/ml or 50 nmol/L of vitamin D levels is the optimum value. To get the best out of your weight loss journey, also consider eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Getting Vitamin D naturally, which is through sun exposure is highly suggested. 

What is Vitamin D?

You must have heard how important vitamin D is for a healthy body. And, you must have also known we get it through exposure to the sun. However, most of us do not know anything else about it. So, what exactly is vitamin D. Well, it is a set of fat-soluble secosteroids that are necessary for better intestinal absorption of phosphate, calcium, and magnesium. This vitamin helps you maintain healthy teeth and bones, while also protecting you from several conditions and diseases such as type-1 diabetes.

Apart from that, vitamin D also enhances your brain, immune, and nervous system health. It also helps you regulate insulin levels and supports your lung function. This vitamin is necessary for better cardiovascular health. Last but not the least, vitamin D also supports you in your weight loss journey. 

How to use Vitamin D for weight loss?

Health professionals recommend daily sun exposure of 5-30 minutes so that our skin synthesizes vitamin D. Since sunlight is the major source of vitamin D, It is almost impossible for people living in certain areas of high altitudes to meet the daily requirements. They should consider taking supplements. But, almost 50% of the population worldwide has vitamin D deficiency.  

Adults, who fall under 19-70 years of age, need at least 15 mcg (600 IU)[1] of vitamin D a day. However, dosage should be based on body weight. One study[2] calculated 32-36 IU of vitamin D per pound (70- 80 IU/kg). This amount may even be higher than the standard upper limit of 4,000 IU per day depending on the body weight. Moreover, doses of 10,000 IU of vitamin D a day have shown no adverse effects. It is recommended to consult a doctor before exceeding the 4,000 IU of vitamin per day. 

Vitamin D levels of 20ng/ml or 50 nmol/L[3] are believed to be adequate to promote overall health and strong bones. A study[4] conducted over a year with 218 overweight and obese women, with a low-calorie diet and exercise regime and adequate vitamin D supplements, lost more weight than the people who did not take vitamin D supplements. A weight loss of an average of 7 pounds (3.2 kg) was seen in women who got adequate vitamin D levels when compared to those who were vitamin D deficient. 

When and how to take vitamin D Supplements?

Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it should be paired with high-fat foods or large meals. Water-soluble vitamins disperse in water, but fat-soluble vitamins do not dissolve in water. Vitamin D supplements can be absorbed best by the bloodstream when paired with fatty foods. To enhance absorption, pair vitamin D supplements with foods like avocados, seeds, nuts, eggs, or full-fat dairy products. As these are rich sources of fat, they will improve the absorption of vitamin D. 

Some reports claim that vitamin D supplements can interfere with sleep, so try experimenting with your supplements. As long as it does not interfere with your sleep, you can try taking it along with breakfast, or with a bedtime snack. Older people, people with dark skin, and those living far from the equator may need more.

How does vitamin D help in weight loss? 

Many theories hypothesize the relationship between obesity and low vitamin D levels. Many researchers have found that people who are overweight and obese tend to consume fewer vitamin D-rich foods. Whereas some researchers point out their behavioral differences, obese people tend to expose themselves less to sunlight. Therefore, they may not be absorbing enough sunshine vitamins from the sun. 

However, recent studies[5] concluded that vitamin D can help in weight loss, and people with vitamin D deficiency had a higher body fat percentage and higher body mass index. Furthermore, certain enzymes that are essential to activate the vitamin D may vary between nonobese and obese people.  

Another research shows that vitamin D requirements depend on body size[6], and there is no difference between vitamin D levels in nonobese and obese people. This goes to say that overweight and obese individuals need more vitamin D than people with normal body weight. This is why obese people might have vitamin d deficiency.   

Moreover, losing weight can impact your vitamin D levels. A theory[7] also states that a reduction in body size would decrease the requirement for vitamin D. As the amount of it remains the same in the body, weight loss would increase the vitamin D levels. Some evidence shows that people with an increase in levels of vitamin D in the blood lost more weight and body fat. 

Researchers reported that vitamin D can help you lose weight in many ways. Vitamin D and weight loss are due to its potential effects on fat cells. Vitamin D can diminish the formation of new fat cells[8] in the body. Moreover, it could also stop the storage of fat cells, thereby, reducing the fat accumulation in the body. 

Other uses of  Vitamin D 

As mentioned earlier, vitamin D has a significant effect on our mood. It increases the levels of the happy hormone – Serotonin. It also affects our mood and sleep regulation. Serotonin plays a major role in controlling our hunger[9], and it also increases fullness, thereby, decreasing calorie intake and weight gain.  

Moreover, higher levels of vitamin D are linked with high levels of testosterone[10], which triggers weight loss. Several studies reported that higher levels of testosterone can reduce body fat and help keep up with long-term weight loss. Researchers found that vitamin D can reduce cortisol levels. Increased cortisol levels can lead to overeating and weight gain. 

Moreover, minimal levels of vitamin D have been related to impaired exercise performance, as lower levels of vitamin D reduce muscle action and skeletal mineralization. Researchers also linked lower vitamin D levels with poor muscle strength[11], aerobic capacity, and speed. So, if you want to strengthen your muscles and lose weight, you should maintain adequate levels of vitamin D. By doing so, you can lose weight as well as build muscles at the same time. Best of both worlds isn’t it?. 

Vitamin D deficiency can impact both physical and mental health. It is known to cause severe bone conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis. All these conditions can give you severe bone pain in the knees, hips, and joints. Bad knees can make it difficult for you to lose weight. So it is very important to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.

Foods rich in vitamin D to treat vitamin D deficiency 

Vitamin D (calciferol) is found naturally in very few foods such as fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, swordfish, canned tuna, herring, fish-liver oils, egg yolks, mushrooms, and liver. Under conditions of regular sun exposure, dietary vitamin D intake is insignificant. However, latitude, seasons like harsh winters, aging, use of sunblocks, and skin pigmentation can influence the synthesis of vitamin D3 by the skin. Most of the vitamin D comes from fortified milk products, breakfast cereals, and orange juice. 

Final words

Although vitamin D deficiency was not of major concern in tropical areas, there is an increase in the incidence of vitamin d deficiency in low latitudes as well. Most people depend on vitamin D supplementation to meet their needs. Vitamin D may help with weight loss, but Its benefits go way beyond that, as it also boosts your immune system. So vitamin D supplementation plays a crucial role in preventing diseases like cancer, heart diseases, and flu. 

+ 11 sources

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  3. Nih.gov. (2017). Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin D. [online] Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
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  6. Drincic, A.T., Armas, L.A.G., van Diest, E.E. and Heaney, R.P. (2012). Volumetric Dilution, Rather Than Sequestration Best Explains the Low Vitamin D Status of Obesity. Obesity, [online] 20(7), pp.1444–1448. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22262154/
  7. Rock, C.L., Emond, J.A., Flatt, S.W., Heath, D.D., Karanja, N., Pakiz, B., Sherwood, N.E. and Thomson, C.A. (2012). Weight Loss Is Associated With Increased Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D in Overweight or Obese Women. Obesity, [online] 20(11), pp.2296–2301. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22402737/
  8. Chang, E. and Kim, Y. (2016). Vitamin D decreases adipocyte lipid storage and increases NAD-SIRT1 pathway in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Nutrition, [online] 32(6), pp.702–708. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26899162/
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  11. Al-Dujaili, E.A.S., Munir, N. and Iniesta, R.R. (2016). Effect of vitamin D supplementation on cardiovascular disease risk factors and exercise performance in healthy participants: a randomized placebo-controlled preliminary study. Therapeutic Advances in Endocrinology and Metabolism, [online] 7(4), pp.153–165. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4973406/#:~:text=The%20current%20study%20indicates%20that,skeletal%20mineralisation%20%5BWyon%20et%20al.
Lakshmi Vemuri

Medically reviewed by:

Lakshmi Vemuri holds a bachelor’s degree in Dentistry. She is also a published author of several Food and Wellness books. Lakshmi has a profound interest in alternative medicines, various forms of physical exercise, mental health, diets, and new inventions in medical sciences. Besides being a dentist, Lakshmi is passionate about gardening and is an environmental enthusiast

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