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Although there is no magic pill for weight loss, vitamin D does play a role in maintaining a healthy weight. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it is stored in your bodys fat cells. The link between vitamin D and weight has not been completely explored by researchers and is not fully understood, but several studies have shown a connection between vitamin D status and weight.
Many overweight people are deficient in vitamin D, but it is unclear if the weight caused the deficiency or if the deficiency led to the weight gain. A 2000 study published in the "Journal of Clinical Nutrition" found that obese participants had significantly lower levels of vitamin D in their blood. Researchers theorize that vitamin D may get trapped in the fat cells or that obese people may be lacking sufficient vitamin D in the diet.
A rstudy presented at the Endocrine Societys annual meeting followed 38 overweight men and women on an 11-week diet plan. Subjects with higher levels of vitamin D at the beginning of the diet were more successful at losing weight overall. Vitamin D levels also predicted a greater loss of abdominal fat, but the exact mechanism for how vitamin D influences weight loss is still unclear.
People trying to lose weight or who are overweight should get their vitamin D levels checked. Difficulty losing weight can be a sign of vitamin D deficiency. If you are deficient, a doctor may give you up to 10,000 international units to help normalize your levels. The recommended amount per day is 600 IUs for most people, an amount that can be found in most multivitamins. The best way to naturally increase your vitamin D level is to get outside. Just 10 to 15 minutes of direct sunlight can give you all the vitamin D you need.
Although vitamin D may help with weight loss, it is not recommended to take excessive vitamin D in an attempt to lose those extra pounds. Because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin stored in the fat cells, high doses may lead to toxicity. The upper limit of vitamin D is 4,000 IUs. Signs of vitamin D toxicity include nausea, vomiting and weakness. As with most vitamins, more is not always better.
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