Can Vitamin D Help you lose weight?

Findings of a new study suggest that overweight or obese adults who are also deficient for vitamin D can benefit from taking a vitamin D supplement.  Adding this supplement to a healthy, reduced-calorie diet can aid in weight loss in this group of people.  This news comes from research conducted by the University of Milan in Italy, and may help us better understand the connection between the “sunshine” vitamin and obesity.  In the past, research has shown that being deficient in vitamin D is linked with a higher risk of obesity. 

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The study analyzed 400 overweight and obese people with vitamin D deficiency who were put on a low-calorie diet and then divided into three groups. Group 1 took no vitamin D supplements, group 2 took 25,000 IU of vitamin D, and group 3 took 100,000 IU of vitamin D per month.  Researchers predicted that taking a vitamin D supplement might help obese people deficient in the vitamin lose weight and that’s exactly what happened. After 6 months, study participants who had been taking vitamin D – in either the higher or lower dose – lost more weight and waistline inches than those not taking vitamin D.

Although the findings are still preliminary, as they have not been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal yet, it gives hope to those battling obesity.  Vitamin D deficiency may be what is undermining weight loss efforts and keeping those doing all the right things from reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.  The findings of this research, and the team from Milan, suggest that people who are obese/overweight have their vitamin D levels tested.  If vitamin D levels are low, getting the right amount of the vitamin can help.

Although about 40% of North American adults are vitamin D-deficient, this doesn't mean every person fighting obesity or trying to lose weight should be taking vitamin D supplements.  Forty percent seems very high, but that still means less than half the population.  Additionally, those who are both deficient and obese is an even smaller percentage.  So make sure you are a candidate for this supplementation before taking extra vitamin D.

Vitamin D, or the "sunshine vitamin" can be obtained through foods like eggs, milk, yogurt, tuna, salmon, cereal and orange juice.   Because the body produces vitamin D when your skin is out in the sun, it is called the sunshine vitamin.  Vitamin D has many benefits, and is essential to good health.  Below are some of the biggest benefits of vitamin D:

Benefits of Vitamin D:

  • Improves mental sharpness
  • Immune support
  • Supports bone health and strength
  • Helps intestines absorb nutrients
  • Provides calcium balance in the body
  • Regulates blood pressure