Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients that most people do not get enough of. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to a wide range of negative health conditions, and, on the flip side, adequate vitamin D levels have been linked to a wide range of health benefits. Not only is vitamin D good for healthy bones, but it also benefits immune function, heart health, brain function, healthy mood, and may even be helpful for weight loss.

A recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people with low vitamin D levels were at increased risk of becoming obese in the next four years, according to data analyzed from over 1,200 people who were followed over nine years. “The results of the present study suggest that lower [vitamin D levels] in obese subjects may not have been secondary to obesity, but may in fact precede obesity,” stated the researchers. This means that low vitamin D is not just linked to obesity, but is likely a cause of it.

Fat cells carry vitamin D receptors. This tells us that vitamin D plays an important role in fat cell function. Did you know that your fat tissue is actually considered an organ rather than a simple storage unit for fat? As we learn more, we see that vitamin D receptors are found on almost every cell in the body. It’s no wonder vitamin D is linked to so many health benefits.

Have you checked your vitamin D levels lately? If you have gained weight recently, or are having trouble losing weight, low vitamin D levels could be to blame. Optimal vitamin D levels are between 50 and 80 ng/mL.