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Vitamin D may help fight inflammation, disease

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Vitamin D combined with weight loss reduced chronic inflammation more dramatically than weight loss alone in a new study.

Vitamin D may be part of a powerful strategy to reduce chronic inflammation and the related risk of many diseases, including cancer, according to new research from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The study suggested that the vitamin, combined with weight loss, has a greater effect on reducing chronic inflammation that just dropping the pounds without adding the D. The study was published online ahead of print by Cancer Prevention Research and noted on

"We know from our previous studies that by losing weight, people can reduce their overall levels of inflammation, and there is some evidence suggesting that taking vitamin D supplements can have a similar effect if one has insufficient levels of the nutrient," said lead and corresponding author Catherine Duggan, Ph.D., a principal staff scientist in the Public Health Sciences Division at Fred Hutchinson, in a release from the research center. However, it has not been known whether combining the two—weight loss and vitamin D—would further boost this effect. "It's the first study to test whether adding vitamin D augments the considerable effect of weight loss on inflammatory biomarkers," she said.

Turns out, it does. In the double blind, placebo-controlled study of 218 healthy, overweight,older women with lower-than-recommended levels of vitamin D, the ones who received 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily along with losing weight on a diet and exercise program showed a 37 percent reduction in one pro-inflammatory biomarker compared to the 17.2 percent reduction shown by the women who took the placebo.

"Weight loss reduces inflammation, and thus represents another mechanism for reducing cancer risk," Duggan said. "If ensuring that vitamin D levels are replete, or at an optimum level, can decrease inflammation over and above that of weight loss alone, that can be an important addition to the tools people can use to reduce their cancer risk."

Other recent research suggests vitamin D deficiency plays more of a role in a person’s chances of developing diabetes than their weight.

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