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Struggling With Weight Loss? Try Checking Your Vitamin D Levels

Morgan Chamberlain
July 25, 2023
Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor
By Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor
Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition.
Image by Jeremy Pawlowski / Stocksy
July 25, 2023

Maintaining a healthy weight and body composition can be challenging. Metabolic health is complicated and can be downright frustrating to manage. As it turns out, vitamin D has a pretty big role in metabolic health factors (bigger than you might think).

While it isn't often discussed, body composition has a profound impact on your body's ability to circulate vitamin D. This is because it's a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it's actually stored in body fat—and the more body fat a person has, the more vitamin D gets stored there.

How vitamin D status impacts body composition

As mindbodygreen's vice president of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, explained in a previous article, "Less serum vitamin D [aka, 25(OH)D], circulating in our blood means less D is available to our kidneys and other target tissues for conversion to its active, hormone form for its pleiotropic actions throughout our body." 

In other words, the higher an individual's adiposity, the more likely they are to have insufficient vitamin D levels. "And mind you, that's just one way that adiposity can compromise vitamin D status and its ability to do its widespread job in our bones, muscles, immune cells, brain, liver, etc.,"* Ferira adds.

Research shows there may also be a dilution factor and even metabolic differences for major vitamin D pathways in individuals with more adipose tissue (as measured by fat percentage, waist circumference, and BMI). Regardless of the exact mechanisms, the science shows a clear inverse relationship between adipose tissue and vitamin D status1.

In fact, vitamin D levels have been found to play a role in metabolic health factors ranging from weight loss and body composition to blood sugar balance and hunger hormone regulation:*

  • In a 2014 randomized controlled trial (RCT) published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, postmenopausal women that achieved vitamin D sufficiency lost 7 more pounds2, 2% more body fat, and four more centimeters of waist circumference, on average, than those with lower vitamin D levels. 
  • In a recent RCT from Menopause, healthy women between the ages of 50 and 65 who took a daily vitamin D supplement for nine months had healthier levels of adiponectin and leptin (i.e., adipokine hormones with a key role in body composition, insulin sensitivity, and healthy inflammatory actions) than women who did not.
  • In a 2012 study from the Journal of Women's Health, healthy women over 65 sufficient in vitamin D were found to gain less weight3 over a span of 4.5 years than those with vitamin D insufficiency.

The science doesn't lie: Vitamin D has a number of science-backed benefits supporting different metabolic health factors, including healthy body composition.*

How to reach and maintain vitamin D sufficiency

To help support your metabolic and whole-body health, reaching (and maintaining) healthy vitamin D status is key. The easiest way to get there? A premium daily supplement with efficacious dosage and form—like mindbodygreen's vitamin D3 potency+.* 

mindbodygreen's quality formula delivers 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 (the superior form for bioavailability) and an organic trio of oils (olive, avocado, and flaxseed) to sufficiently support absorption of the fat-soluble vitamin.* Individuals with higher amounts of fat tissue typically need a dosage that's two to three times greater4 than the standard recommendation. Luckily, vitamin D3 potency+ delivers a high-potency dose of D3 to help you achieve and sustain truly optimal D status, no matter your body composition.* 

The takeaway

Vitamin D and adiposity have a complex and nuanced relationship, and individuals with higher amounts of body fat may struggle to maintain healthy circulating levels of the fat-soluble vitamin. Luckily, taking a high-potency daily supplement like mindbodygreen's vitamin D3 potency+ can help you reach and maintain healthy vitamin D status and support your overall metabolic health—no matter your body composition.*

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.
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Morgan Chamberlain author page.
Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor

Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition. Chamberlain believes in taking small steps to improve your well-being—whether that means eating more plant-based foods, checking in with a therapist weekly, or spending quality time with your closest friends. When she isn’t typing away furiously at her keyboard, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, hanging outside, or doing a vinyasa flow.