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Vitamin D and Obesity from vitamin D council newsletter of Nov 2006

Dr. Cannell:
I am a Seventh-Day Adventist missionary and work in the poorest parts of West Oakland. I take 4,000 IU of vitamin D every day and sit in the sun (arms and face exposed) most days for fifteen minutes at noon. It has cured my gum disease and I can run again full blast after not being able to run a step for four years
I have been handing out vitamin D for two years as a first response to people with severe auto-immune diseases. There's no blood testing, no opportunity for quality medical care, no one to fall back on in this third-world climate. I just educate people as best I can about the advantages of vitamin D and give them a bottle of Carlson's 2000 IU vitamin D with instructions to take twenty to start and then two a day for the rest of their life. The results have been pretty spectacular, especially with people who have arthritis or diabetes.
One unexpected result was that many people are losing weight, twenty, thirty, forty pounds, spontaneously, and they look great, too. One of these individuals taking 4,000 asked me if vitamin D made you lose weight. She is very obese but had rather abruptly lost 20 pounds. Now, a month later, she has lost a total of 32 pounds and is delighted. I can assure you based on results here that many people who are obese are most certainly losing weight on vitamin D.
One sad note is an individual who weighs at least 300 pounds at 57. He's very strong and hearty, a VA community-based psychiatric patient with other health problems. I gave him a couple bottles of vitamin D and he lost considerable weight, fifty or sixty pounds. It didn't occur to me at the time that the weight loss could be linked to the D, but I'm almost certain that was the cause. Then he told his VA doctor that he was taking vitamin D and the doctor went nuts, told him it was toxic, and told him to never take it—which is where things are today—and he rapidly gained back all the weight. In my experience, most doctors don't know anything about vitamin D except that it's potentially toxic. Keep up your good work! George Oakland, California

  • Reply

I suspect that physiological doses of vitamin D (5,000 IU per day), will induce weight loss in obese vitamin D deficient patients. I reviewed the reasons in a newsletter (PDF format) several years ago. At this point, it would be best if these patients had periodic vitamin D blood levels, especially if they stay on these doses for years. Another thing, in the summer, especially when you sit in the sun, you should not take any oral vitamin D. Yes, physicians know very little about the recent vitamin D research and they won't until the lawsuits start. Keep up your good work.