Most of us know that sunshine has direct ties to our mental states of mind, and that a lack of fresh air lends to sadness, depression and a general sense of woe. What you might not know is that a lack of vitamin D, that essential nutrient we get from the sun, plays an even larger role in our health and well-being - think the number on the scale.
Vitamin D deficiency extends to summer as well as the cooler months. Explains registered dietitian and Zeel Expert Lauren Slayton, it's very much linked to insulin, and a deficiency can affect insulin levels and, therefore, weight.
With an itch to learn more, we reached out to nutrition guru Natasha Uspensky and asked her the same question. Is a lack of vitamin D linked to weight gain?
"That is 100 percent true!" Natasha responds. That's not all either. "Vitamin D deficiency is linked to increased risk of disease, increased stress response, anxiety, depression and weight gain," she adds. "And most people are deficient."
Think you might be lacking in vitamin D? Natasha says, not to worry! Here's the deal.
Fact. Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient that most people are deficient in.
Its main job. Vitamin D is responsible for maintaining bone and muscle health and keeping the central nervous system in check. On top of decreasing our risk of developing diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's, getting adequate vitamin D helps to curb food cravings, maintain ideal weight, lower stress response and keep us happy!
How to get it. If you live somewhere where you can get 10 to 15 minutes of direct sunlight (without sunscreen) on large swaths of your body every day, you're in good shape. But for the rest of us, a supplement is necessary.
Supplement 101. Think you need a supplement? Opt for 2,000 to 8,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day, depending on your specific health concerns.
The bottom line. Don't do the guesswork. Be sure to consult a holistic practitioner about the recommended dosage for your body and goals.