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Vitamin D and weight loss – not what you think!

Vitamin D is in the news a lot, over the past few years.  Thanks to the efforts of some savvy internet marketers, it has become a “thing” that alternative medicine doctors use, to gather audiences to their sides. While I am not alone, I am among just a few people, who are a little more reserved about Vitamin D and its effects, and, particularly its doses.  I rarely venture into this territory any more, finding it a fruitless thing to say anything that could be remotely construed as “different” about Vitamin D, than what has permeated the internet. Saying something that might be construed as negative or cautionary, about Vitamin D, is tantamount to insulting someone’s religion, which I never do!

I have seen one case of Vitamin D toxicity and several cases of Vitamin D deficiency, in my 25 years in medicine. That is a lot more than most people, even most doctors, but it has not stopped folks from writing in snide comments.  Invariably, these are people with no clinical experience at all- they are simply “followers” of someone who has convinced them that Vitamin D is the be all and end all of everything good.

The area where I have and continue to urge caution is in Vitamin D dosage. I have read the eminent Dr. Holick’s tome on Vitamin D, twice over now and am convinced his message is misrepresented by the usual gurus out there.  I do not think a one-size-fits-all dose of 10,000 IU daily, works for everyone, though I admit, it is unlikely to cause toxicity.  I am still a bit uncomfortable with the “U shaped curve” of plasma Vitamin D levels, which suggests that, while lots of good things happen, when people hit plasma Vitamin D (as 25OH Vitamin D) of 45 to 70 ng/dl levels- above that, begin to yield diminishing returns and substantially higher levels, have potentially negative consequences, including mortality.

Bottom line, if you are supplementing with high levels of D, get your levels checked!  This is exactly what I say about Omega 3 levels – test them to be sure you are getting the levels to where they will actually give you the much vaunted benefits I have been telling you about for 12 years!

OK, now finally, on to weight loss (and the inches you’ll loose per pound) and Vitamin D.

Two very interesting things have popped up.  First, there is a general association of Vitamin D levels and body weight.  The lower the level generally, the higher the body weight.  Next, pre-diet Vitamin D levels seem to predict dietary success, with higher levels resulting in statistically significant increases, versus lower levels.

So, does that make Vitamin D an indispensible weight loss aid?  Not at all, but let’s put it this way- it couldn’t hurt!  May as well benefit, from the many other good things Vitamin D seems to do for you and if it helps along the way to a thinner “waste” line, great!

How much?  Again, I recommend checking levels every 6 to 12 months, but you are certainly safe with 5000 IU a day, in supplement form and then get some sun and count on your food for the rest. Ultimately, you’d want your 25 OHD levels to be in the 45 to 70 range.

Please remember this.  Vitamin D requires transport into the cell, then into the nucleus of the cell, where it influences your epigenetics (ha, I get to use the word, in its correct fashion, unlike so many others) and reads some good genes and suppresses some bad ones.  That process, of getting into the cell, requires healthy cell and intracellular membranes. That means healthy, beneficial levels of Omega 3 fish oil in your membranes, since this a major influence on membrane fluidity and receptor biology. May as well make sure that D gets where it needs to and oh, by the way… there are a bunch of studies on fish oil and fat loss as well!

Enjoy the sunshine!

Doc

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