A vitamin D supplement combined with calcium supplementation can help weight loss, research suggests.
People in the study who took vitamin D and calcium supplements lost more belly fat and experienced greater loss of fat mass.
One study has shown that people drinking more milk, which contains vitamin D and calcium, can double weight loss.
Up to half the world’s population may be deficient in vitamin D.
A deficiency in vitamin D could help to increase people’s appetite, research suggests.
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.
Around half of people who are obese have a calcium deficiency.
The body cannot produce calcium, so relies on it from food intake.
Foods high in calcium include dairy products, seeds, nuts and dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale.
The study included 53 overweight or obese people.
They were split into two groups with one put on an energy-restricted diet, that included 500 calories per day less than required.
The rest were put on the same diet, but also given calcium and vitamin D supplements.
The calcium supplement was 600 mg, while the vitamin D3 supplement was 125 IU.
The results showed that people taking calcium and vitamin D together lost 6 pounds of fat, while those in the comparison group only lost 4 pounds of fat.
The study’s authors write:
“Calcium plus vitamin D3 supplementation for 12 weeks augmented body fat and visceral fat loss in very-low calcium consumers during energy restriction.”
Although the exact mechanism for how calcium and vitamin D aid weight loss is not known, the authors speculate:
“The greater decrease in fat mass observed in the calcium+D group of the current study could result from several factors attributing to calcium metabolism.
First, a calcium-rich diet is shown to increase fat oxidation, promote fat cell apoptosis, and reduce lipid absorption due to the formation of insoluble calcium-fatty acid soaps in the intestine, which are eventually excreted in the feces.
Second, high dietary calcium intake is associated with suppression of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25-(OH)2D) levels which in turn act to decrease calcium influx into the cell.”
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 Nutrition Journal (Zhu et al., 2019).