Vitamin D is linked to weight loss and reducing belly fat, research repeatedly finds.
While dieting, people tend to lose more weight if they have higher levels of vitamin D in their body.
One study has shown that people drinking more milk, which contains vitamin D and calcium, can double weight loss.
Around half the world’s population is deficient in vitamin D.
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.
A higher intake of vitamin D during weight loss has also been linked to reduced inflammation in the body.
Lessening chronic inflammation can help to reduce the risk of several diseases and some cancers.
The conclusions come from a study of 218 overweight women.
Dr Catherine Duggan, the study’s first author, said:
“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.”
The women followed a year-long diet and exercise program, with half given a vitamin D supplement (2,000 IU per day).
Dr Duggan explained the results:
“We were quite surprised to see that vitamin D had an effect on an inflammation biomarker only among women who lost at least 5 percent of their baseline weight.
That suggests vitamin D can augment the effect of weight loss on inflammation.”
Weight loss and reducing chronic inflammation are both linked to lower cancer risk, said Dr Duggan:
“It is thought that this state of chronic inflammation is pro-tumorigenic, that is, it encourages the growth of cancer cells.
Weight loss reduces inflammation, and thus represents another mechanism for reducing cancer risk.
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.”
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 published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research (Duggan et al., 2015).