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High Vitamin D Levels Contribute To Weight Loss


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By Margarita Nahapetyan

Vitamin D appears to play a potential role when it comes to losing weight, possibly through the effects of metabolism, claims a new study by scientists at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The experts revealed that getting more sun and having plenty of vitamin D in the body, make it much easier to lose unwanted weight.

"Vitamin D deficiency is associated with obesity, but it is not clear if inadequate vitamin D causes obesity or the other way around," said a principal author of the study, Dr. Shalamar Sibley, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Sibley and his team carried out a research involving 38 obese and overweight male and female adults. They tested the participant's vitamin D levels and at the same time analyzed a causal link between levels of vitamin D and rate of weight loss. The experts measured both the active and inactive levels of vitamin D at the start of the experiment, and after an 11-week weight loss program consisting of a 750 calorie per day deficit from estimated needs. The composition and fat distribution were also measured in all the participants by means of DXA (bone densitometry) scans. According to the researchers, on average, all subjects had insufficient levels of vitamin D in the beginning of the study.

The results revealed that eleven weeks later, baseline, or pre-diet, levels of vitamin D predicted weight loss in a linear relationship. For every increase of 1 ng/mL in level of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (a precursor form and a commonly used indicator of vitamin D status, the study participants found themselves losing almost a half pound (0.196 kg) more on their calorie-restricted diet. For each 1-ng/mL increase in the active or "hormonal" form of vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol), all adults lost about one-quarter pound (0.107 kg) more. In addition, the study found that higher levels of vitamin D at baseline predicted increased abdominal subcutaneous fat loss but not lean body mass loss.

The results demonstrate that there is the possibility that the addition of vitamin D to a reduced-calorie diet will help to lose weight more easily, Dr. Sibley said. However, she added that more studies are needed to support these results, followed up by the right kind of controlled clinical trial and involving a larger number of participants, in order to determine if vitamin D supplementation really plays a hole in aiding people lose weight when they attempt to decrease the amount of food they consume.

And in case it is established that vitamin D does really contribute to standard weight loss approaches, such as reduced-calorie diet, for example, then identification and treatment in an adequate vitamin D status could ultimately have a large effect on public health in the obesity epidemic, the expert concluded.

The findings were presented last week at The Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

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