Vitamin D supplements may aid weight loss for deficient individuals

Vitamin D supplements may help some lose weight

People who are overweight or obese and who are vitamin D deficient may be able to lose weight by taking a supplement of the nutrient, according to a new study.

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Previous studies have linked obesity to vitamin D deficiency, and research has suggested that people who are overweight may be less able to convert vitamin D into its hormonally active form. It has also been suggested that obese individuals may avoid exposure to solar UV radiation, which is essential for the cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D3.

The new study included 400 overweight and obese people with vitamin D deficiency who were put on a low-calorie diet and divided into three groups. The first group took no vitamin D supplements, and the other two took either 25,000 international units (IU) or 100,000 IU of vitamin D per month. After six months, those who in both vitamin D supplementation groups lost more weight and had greater reductions in their waistlines than those who did not take the supplements.

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Those in the 25,000 IU group lost an average of 8 pounds and those in the 100,000 IU group lost 11 pounds on average. Those who took no vitamin D supplements lost only 2 pounds on average.

"The present data indicate that in obese and overweight people with vitamin D deficiency, vitamin D supplementation aids weight loss and enhances the beneficial effects of a reduced-calorie diet," said study leader Luisella Vigna of the University of Milan. The researchers suggested that overweight and obese individuals get their vitamin D levels tested.

The results were presented Thursday at the 22nd European Congress on Obesity, but the findings are considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.

A recent study found that, even though people with low vitamin D levels tend to have higher blood pressure, there was no evidence that increasing vitamin D levels had any effect on the systolic or diastolic numbers on a blood pressure reading.

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