A vitamin D deficiency can wreak havoc on your health, often causing uncomfortable and difficult to diagnose symptoms like hair loss, depression, bone and joint pain, and weight gain.
And, the bad news is that you probably aren't getting your daily dose particularly if you have dark hair and darker skin.
Low vitamin D has been shown to be detrimental to your physical wellbeing and immunity. Here is what you need to know about low vitamin D and weight gain and how to fight it.
Low Vitamin D - Know the Symptoms
There are many low vitamin D symptoms, and no two people experience them the same way. But, if you've been feeling tired, moody, or fatigued, pay attention to what your body might be telling you.
Other vitamin D deficiency effects include:
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Bone, joint, and muscle pain
- Low energy
- Poor mood
- Frequent illness and low immune system
- Anxiety and irritability
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
If these symptoms sound familiar, it might be time for a trip to your doctor. A simple blood test can tell if you're vitamin D deficient, and help you determine how much you'll need to start consuming to get back on track.
The Link Between Low Vitamin D and Weight Gain
You probably know about vitamin D's link to bone health and skeletal functions. But, a lack of this vital micronutrient can also lead to unintentional weight gain. And, combined with weakened bones and joints, this can add up to a very uncomfortable situation.
So why do people with low vitamin D gain weight?
Recent research indicates that our bodies change the way abdominal fat is stored when we don't get enough of this vitamin. Simply put, rather than evenly distributing fat cells, your body redirects them to the worst problem area of all, your belly.
Because low vitamin D levels can also leave you feeling tired and run down, a deficiency can lead to stress and emotional eating. After all, nobody reaches for fresh fruits and vegetables when they're feeling anxious or depressed.
Your body may also try to get the vitamin D that it needs from less than healthy sources. If you're having late-night cheese cravings or suddenly want milk in your morning coffee, it could be a sign that you're missing out on this essential nutrient.
Benefits of Adding Vitamin D to Your Diet
Getting your daily dose of vitamin D has a ton of benefits other than weight control. It can strengthen your bones and joints, prevent osteoporosis, and help build muscle during workouts.
Plus, it can help relieve mild symptoms of depression and anxiety, and boost your overall energy.
Because vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, getting your daily dose can also help keep your hair and nails strong. And, even support dental health!
Vitamin D can also help support a healthy and high-functioning immune system, helping your body to fight off illness and infection.
Keeping your body's defenses high has never been more important than it is right now. So, if you get sick frequently, don't wait to add this supplement to your routine. Even if you're getting enough already, you aren't likely to cause harm by adding a bit more to the mix.
How Much Vitamin D to Take
Most doctors recommend a vitamin D supplement with a strength of 800 to 2,000 international units as a daily dose. But, growing kids and adults over 60 might need a bit more to support a healthy skeletal structure. My family takes 3000 iu a day in the summer and double that in the winter.
Eating enough vitamin D in a day to get your daily dose is often a challenge, especially if you don't have a balanced diet or you are vegan. You can start by adding the following foods to give your system a quick boost:
- Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines
- Milk, cheese, and eggs
- Beef liver
If these aren't your favorite foods, you might want to try a different course of action. Ordering delicious, prepared meals packed with the nutrients your body needs is a great option, especially if you have a busy and active lifestyle.
Or, if your levels are critically low, you might want to opt for a vitamin D injection or supplement. This fast-acting solution will help boost your body's vitamin D levels in the blink of an eye.
You can also get a dose of vitamin D from spending 15 to 205 minutes a day in direct sunlight. So why not move your daily workout to a sunny spot in the yard and soak up a bit of light?
This might not be enough to correct your deficiency, but it will over time and absolutely help you feel better and support a healthy system for weight control, too.
Take Action Fast
Now that you know a bit about vitamin D deficiency and the link between low vitamin D and weight gain, you're probably ready to start making changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Start with a few small changes like adding healthy prepared meals to your weekly mix, spending a few minutes in the sun every day, and eating healthy foods that are naturally high in this vital nutrient. And, don't get frustrated if it takes you a while to establish a new routine.
Once you're eating healthier and getting enough sun, you can try adding a vitamin D supplement or injection.
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out the rest of our blog posts. They are packed with helpful information on diet and nutrition, plus easy tips and life hacks for making healthy changes in your everyday life.