Vitamin D supplements may help obese and overweight people who are deficient in the vitamin lose weight, according to a new study.
Obesity and vitamin D status are known to be associated, but the direction of the association has been uncertain up until recently. A 2013 study suggested obesity leads to the deficiency, not vice versa.
The new study was presented at last week's European Congress on Obesity in Prague.
For their trial, University of Milan researchers recruited 400 obese or overweight adults and split them into three groups. Almost all of the participants had low levels of vitamin D. The first group took no supplements, the second took 25,000 vitamin D units each month and the third group’s members took 100,000 units. Everyone ate the same balanced, low-calorie diet, according to a story about the study in the Daily Mail.
After six months, those who took the supplements experienced significantly greater weight loss and reduction in their weight circumference. The people who took 25,000 units of D lost an average of 8.37 pounds while the people who took 100,000 units lost an average of 11.9 pounds. The group who didn’t take supplements lost only an average of 2.64 pounds.
The study authors said: “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. All people affected by obesity should have their levels of vitamin D tested to see if they are deficient, and if so, begin taking supplements.”