I don’t know about you, but I’m always trying to look a little more and a little more like Bruce Lee.
Well why not??
It looks cool. A person with a bit of muscle mass and minimal body fat looks SCARY. That’s not a person you want to mess with. They must have a ferocious metabolism and lots of energy. You look at a hyper-shredded individual and you wonder “How did they get so lean? How is their metabolism so high? How much exercise do you have to do to look like that? What is this person physically capable of? How fast can they move without a bunch of body fat weighing them down? How high can they jump? What is their personal discipline and self-control like to be able to maintain that kind of a physique?”
And when you burn off excess body fat you may find that many people actually think you’ve gotten bigger rather than smaller because your muscles are much more visible. As the body fat melts away, muscles and veins previously hidden from the world are now revealed. You are different. You are LEAN like a wild animal.
I also find being lean simply feels better. It feels right. You feel more balanced. You feel lighter. You feel stronger. You look stronger.
Here’s FIVE ways vitamin D burns body fat and helps you get shredded. Of course, you also need to maintain a clean diet and exercise frequently, but vitamin D optimization is a nifty, easy, simple, inexpensive, and high-leverage health hack that can help you GET LEAN and STAY LEAN. Here’s why:

1. Vitamin D Increases Leptin Sensitivity

Leptin is a hormone your body squirts out after it’s decided you’ve eaten enough. It’s your body’s way of saying “Okay, that’s enough food for now. Stop eating for a while.”
Leptin makes you feel FULL. If you’ve ever eaten way too much food and felt like you were going to vomit afterward, THAT was leptin making you feel that way. If your leptin mechanism is working properly (i.e. if you have good leptin sensitivity) then you’re going to eat smaller amounts of food. If your leptin mechanism is working poorly then you’re going to eat MORE.
Higher leptin sensitivity means your body will give you a squirt of leptin SOONER into a meal, you’ll feel full FASTER, and you’ll be less likely to overeat.
If you have low leptin sensitivity, however, you’re not going to feel full as fast and you’re going to be more likely to overeat.
A lot of people consider vitamin D to be an appetite suppressor, but I don’t think that’s the correct way of looking at it. Rather, vitamin D plays a role in appetite regulation. Human beings are not supposed to be vitamin D-deficient and suffering from vitamin D-deficiency-related leptin insensitivity. We are supposed to have high vitamin D levels and the higher leptin sensitivity resulting from optimal vitamin D levels.
SIMPLY PUT – Increasing your vitamin D levels reduces your appetite.
Personally, I have noticed that following heavy sunbathing, or taking a large dose of liquid vitamin D3, I have a reduced appetite for a day or two. I’ll only eat about half of my usual caloric intake.

2. Vitamin D Increases Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin is the hormone your body squirts out when it’s processing carbs, and to a lesser extent protein. Insulin pulls sugar and nutrients out of your blood stream and sends them where they actually need to go in your body. If you have high insulin sensitivity, then you won’t need very much insulin to accomplish this. Your body will squirt out a little bit of insulin and that will be enough to get the job done. If you have poor insulin sensitivity, on the other hand, (i.e. insulin insensitivity or insulin resistance) then your body will require much larger amounts of insulin or even worse – no amount of insulin gets the job done. Your body is cranking out all the insulin it can and it’s still not enough to control your blood sugar. Type-2 diabetes is the next step after insulin resistance and that’s when people start requiring pharmaceutical interventions and exogenous insulin.
Being insulin insensitive/resistant makes it extremely difficult to lose body fat and it doesn’t take much observation and research to find that the vast majority of type-2 diabetics are also obese.
Too much insulin makes you fat and destroys your lean muscle mass. In excess, insulin becomes a fat-storing hormone and reduces fat-burning, muscle-building hormones like testosterone and growth hormone. Insulin is essential for your health, but too much is deadly, fattening, and catabolic.
The biggest cause of insulin insensitivity is overconsumption of carbs (especially sugar, bread, and pasta) and an overly-sedentary lifestyle – and these two things are the first that an overweight person needs to fix. Reduce your carb intake and you won’t squirt out so much insulin. Exercise more and you’ll burn up the glucose currently stored in your cells and muscles, making room for future carbs you consume to be stored there rather than being stored as body fat.
BUT! It’s also been found that vitamin D plays an extremely important role in the proper functioning of the beta cells in your pancreas responsible for regulating insulin secretion.
A 2003 randomized control trial experiment of vitamin D-deficient, type-2 diabetic women found that supplementing with a low vitamin D dose of just 1,300 IU daily was effective for reducing insulin resistance by 21% after one month. Considering that the human body is capable of making 10,000 – 50,000 IUs of vitamin D from a sunbathing session, I have to wonder what effect a dose larger than 1,300 IU would have on insulin resistance
(I’ve compiled a list of additional studies regarding vitamin D and insulin functioning that you can read here. And here’s a list of studies on vitamin D and obesity.)
BOTTOM LINE – Vitamin D plays a significant role in proper insulin functioning and optimizing your vitamin D levels reduces your risk of developing insulin resistance and the obesity it causes. More vitamin D = better insulin sensitivity = less body fat.

3. Vitamin D Increases IGF-1 Growth Hormone Levels

IGF-1 is an anabolic muscle-building hormone and a 2013 study found that consuming a low dose of just 7,000 IU of vitamin D weekly for three months significantly raised the IGF-1 levels of the subjects. As in the case of the study above on vitamin D improving insulin resistance, this study measuring IGF-1 level increases used a very low dose of vitamin D. 7,000 IU weekly averages out to just 1,000 IU per day – which is about what infants are supposed to take.
Again, considering our own bodies are capable of producing 10,000 IU – 50,000 IU of vitamin D from a sunbathing session, I have to wonder what effects a dose larger than 7,000 IU weekly would have on IGF-1 levels….

4. Vitamin D Increases Muscle-Building, Fat-Burning Testosterone

A year-long study of 102 vitamin-D deficient middle-age men found that monthly high doses of vitamin D steadily and significantly raised their testosterone levels and their body fat percentages also decreased significantly.
A year-long randomized control trial experiment in 2010 involving 162 men found that those who supplemented with 3,000 IU of vitamin D daily experienced significant testosterone increases compared to the placebo group.
Here’s a list of bunch of other studies I’ve compiled regarding vitamin D and testosterone.
BOTTOM LINE: Vitamin D optimization increases testosterone levels and testosterone is very important for getting lean and mean. It helps you build muscle mass, helps you recover from workouts faster, enables you to workout more often, and allows you to workout harder.
Before I researched this I already had a very strong suspicion that vitamin D and sunbathing increased testosterone based on the observation that following a heavy sunbathing session I get extremely horny. Like uncontrollably horny. And aggressive. I want to break things and yell. I’ve also noticed that when I exercise in the hot sun without a shirt on I can actually work out harder and longer and I recover faster. This has been the case consistently with me for several years.

5. Optimal Vitamin D Levels Inspire Fat-Burning Physical Activity

In addition to the positive effects vitamin D has on testosterone, vitamin D has also been shown to improve physical performance, muscle function, immunity, injury recovery, cardiovascular health, cognitive performance, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, mood, and mental health all of which, individually and combined, will make you more likely to get out often, be physically active, and burn off body fat.

Summing it all up

So now you know how vitamin D burns body fat.
Vitamin D:
-improves leptin sensitivity, reducing the likelihood that you’ll overeat
-increases insulin sensitivity, lowering your risk for developing insulin resistance, obesity, and diabetes
-increases your IGF-1 levels, helping you build more muscle mass
-increases your testosterone levels, helping you build more muscle mass
-profoundly enhances your physical well-being and performance, making you much more likely to get off the couch, enjoy physical activities, and burn some calories
Will supplementing with vitamin D allow you to get lean while eating donuts, drinking soda, and watching TV all day? NO! But it will help and if you’re already eating clean and exercising, optimizing your vitamin D levels may enough to take you from being “pretty good looking” to Bruce Lee level.
I know that when I’ve been sunbathing heavily I tend to look much more shredded and veiny, without any changes to my diet/exercise regimen. I do a mix of the paleo/primal/ketogenic diets combined with lots of intermittent fasting, high-intensity training, and American Jiu-Jitsu – but bringing in the sunbathing and vitamin D takes it over the top.
Remember, if all of this sounds a little farfetched for a vitamin – vitamin D ain’t a vitamin. Vitamin D is a steroid hormone and hormones are powerful.
If you’re trying to lose weight, be sure to get your vitamin D levels checked. If you’re not supplementing with vitamin D, start taking a daily dose of 5,000-10,000 IU per day (for adults), get out in the sun often, go to the beach, exercise in the sunshine rather than an indoor gym, run in the sunshine rather than on a treadmill, etc.

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Has vitamin D helped YOU lose weight? Let us know about it in the comments!
Until next time,



Recommended Reading

Athlete’s Edge: Faster, Quicker, Stronger with Vitamin D by Dr. John Cannell 

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