Vitamin D is crucial for the health of the cardiovascular and skeletal systems, it assists in blood sugar balance and thyroid hormones and it can play a role in how easily you can fight off colds and flus. But did you know that it may also play a part in weight management?
There is a theory that low vitamin D levels signal the body that sunlight is low (ie during Winter). As a result our body responds by going into ‘hibernation’ mode and as a result is prone to storing more fat because it thinks it is Winter and food might be scarce. So as a survival mechanism, this is a great thing, but unfortunately for us in this day and age, food is far from scarce!
When I’m working with patients for weight loss, I often send them for a blood test to check their vitamin D levels. Even in SE Qld, it is possible that your vitamin D levels are lower than optimal, particularly at this time of year. If you spend a lot of time indoors, have dark skin, diabetes, high blood pressure, a chronic condition or inflammatory issue then keeping tabs on your levels is a wise move.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics most recent National Health Measures Survey (NHMS) has found that from 2011 to 2013, approximately 25% of the population were vitamin D deficient, defined by serum levels lower than 50nmol/L. During the cooler months, this percentage increased to almost 50% in many states.
Keep in mind that ‘normal’ ranges simply reflect the average levels found in the population – these do not necessarily reflect ‘optimal’ vitamin D status. Ideally, naturopaths prefer to see Vitamin D levels at least above 75nmol/L.
Regular sun exposure (10-15 minutes in the morning) is a great way to help make sure your vitamin D levels are where they should be.