Those summer solar rays are far more important for your health than a golden tan. Safe sun exposure, that avoids burning, is one of the best ways to increase your Vitamin D and decrease your waistline.

Research studies are showing a multitude of benefits of Vitamin D, including weight loss. In short, if Vitamin D levels are low, you have a harder time losing weight than if your Vitamin D levels are optimized. I attended The Endocrine Society’s 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., and an excellent study was presented on the power of Vitamin D and weight loss. Researchers measured Vitamin D levels in 38 overweight men and women before and after they followed a diet plan for 11 weeks consisting of 750 calories a day lower than their total needs. Here’s the clinical tip: For every increase of 1 ng/mL in Vitamin D subjects ended up losing almost a half pound more on their calorie-restricted diet! Specifically, higher baseline vitamin D levels predicted greater loss of abdominal fat, which is associated with insulin resistance and diabetes.

Safe sun exposure means 10-20 minutes three to four times weekly with face, arms, and legs exposed without using sun screen and without burning at all, and going out from 10 am to 2 pm, when the sun can actually make Vitamin D. If you go out too early or too late in the day, and you will not synthesize Vitamin D at the skin level. Fifteen minutes of safe sun exposure can produce up to 10,000 IU of Vitamin D!

If safe sun exposure is difficult for you, you’re still in luck. Vitamin D supplementation is an excellent and safe way to bring up your blood levels. Recommended amounts vary from 2000 to 5000 IU daily and I absolutely believe that you must monitor your blood levels of 25-hydroxy Vitamin D, seeking optimal levels above at least 50 ng/ml and not higher than 100 ng/ml.