Vitamin D has received a lot of attention over the last few years, and for good reason. The negative health effects that have been associated with low vitamin D levels make up a long list, indeed. Dr. Smith wrote a great blog on vitamin D a couple winters ago with an overview on the best ways to raise vitamin D levels.
A recent study published in the Journal of Women’s Health found that women with low levels of vitamin D (less than 30 ng/mL) gained more weight over the course of five years than those women who had higher levels of vitamin D, suggesting that vitamin D has protective effects against weight gain.
Interestingly, 78 percent of the women in the study had insufficient vitamin D levels. One of the study’s authors, Erin LeBlanc, MD, stated, “A primary source of this important vitamin is sunlight, and as modern societies move indoors, continuous vitamin D insufficiency may be contributing to chronic weight gain.”
While the researchers say more studies are needed to ascertain whether vitamin D supplementation will prevent weight gain, there are many more reasons than possible weight gain to increase your vitamin D levels. If you have not had your levels checked, be sure to do so. Many experts recommend an optimal level of at least 50 ng/mL.
Vitamin D supplements are relatively inexpensive. You may even find it added to another supplement, like omega-3 fish oil. (These two make a nice pair, as vitamin D is also fat soluble.) Be sure to look for vitamin D3 (not D2), because it is the most bioavailable form.