High vitamin D levels are linked to faster weight loss, a study finds.
People in the study with higher vitamin D levels lost 20 pounds (9 kg) more than those with low levels.
Around half the world’s population is deficient in vitamin D.
One reason for the beneficial effect of vitamin D may be its link to the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Serotonin can affect everything from sleep to mood.
High levels of vitamin D may also suppress the storage of fat.
In contrast, having low levels of vitamin D in the body is linked to the storing of fat.
Foods that are rich in vitamin D include oily fish and eggs, but most people get their vitamin D from the action of sunlight on the skin.
Dr Shalamar Sibley, study co-author, said:
“Our results suggest the possibility that the addition of vitamin D to a reduced-calorie diet will lead to better weight loss.”
The study included 38 people who were overweight.
They followed a standard diet that restricted the calories they ate.
Over 11 weeks, they were allowed 750 less calories than they normally ate per day.
The results showed that those with higher levels of vitamin D before starting the diet went on to lose more belly fat.
Higher levels of vitamin D at the start of the study were also linked to greater weight loss.
Dr Sibley said:
“Vitamin D deficiency is associated with obesity, but it is not clear if inadequate vitamin D causes obesity or the other way around.
Our findings need to be followed up by the right kind of controlled clinical trial to determine if there is a role for vitamin D supplementation in helping people lose weight when they attempt to cut back on what they eat.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was presented at The Endocrine Society’s 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. in 2009.