On the weight loss journey, hitting a plateau is a lot like hitting your head against a wall. But what if your weight loss has more to do what you’re not getting enough of?
A while back I hit a weight loss plateau. No matter what I did, how much I worked out or ate healthfully, I couldn’t lose those few pounds. So during my annual checkup, my doctor told me that my vitamin D levels were too low and I needed to get it back up. Now, I am not a sun worshipper primarily because I don’t need to be so I wasn’t surprised by that news, just by her insistence that I get start taking vitamin D3 supplements immediately.
Vitamin D is one of those vitamins that many of us take for granted because we associate it with sun exposure. We all know that too much sun can lead to skin damage and possibly cancer so we think we’re OK without it. The truth is, we are very wrong.
Here’s what Vitamin D does:
- Helps the body to absorb calcium which strengthen teeth and bone, reducing the chance of osteoporosis. That’s why milk is fortified with it.
- Regulates phosphorous and calcium levels. As I mentioned, calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth so maintaining healthy levels helps reduce the chances of periodontal disease. Phosphorus helps filter out the waste in the kidneys and helps keep vitamins and minerals in check.
- Alleviates premenstrual symptoms which can usually be traced back to vitamin D and calcium deficiency.
- Reduces high blood pressure & cholesterol
- Boosts immune system and helps combat certain forms of cancer and autoimmune disease
And the list goes on… as I realized just how it impacts all functions of the body.
Vitamin D & Weight loss
As I mentioned, people of color have a tough time getting enough vitamin D through sunlight. Not only because melanin (skin pigment) blocks the rays but because we too put on the sunscreen so that we don’t run the risks of premature aging or skin cancer. The truth is, sunscreen reduces vitamin D absorption by over 90%; so you could say it’s doing what it’s supposed to do but at a big price.
The form of vitamin D that is manufactured by our bodies is known as Cholecalciferol a.k.a Vitamin D3, which is the type of supplement my doctor recommended.
As it turned out my low levels of vitamin D prevented my body from losing weight. Here’s how that can happen. The brain uses the vitamin to keep hunger and cravings at bay while increasing levels of serotonin, the “feel good” chemical. If your D levels are low, that impacts your ability to keep your snacking and craving in check, which affects weight loss.
Another way Vitamin D impacts weight loss is regarding your fat cells. All cells need vitamin D, including fat cells. It helps cells figure out whether to store fat or burn it. The lower your levels, the more likely your body will store fat. In my case, my body was holding on to those pounds because it didn’t realize that it needed to be burned not stored.
Once I started the recommended D3 regimen, I did see some results including weight loss. One thing I want to make clear is that there is such a thing as too much vitamin D. It can lead to excess bone loss and calcium deposits on the organs due to kidney malfunction along with a whole host of other problems so it’s best to check with the doc before supplementing.
When it comes to natural weight loss, it’s always a good idea to have your numbers checked to make sure you understand why something isn’t working.
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