A variety of common vitamins and minerals have been linked to weight loss.
High levels of vitamin D, though, have repeatedly been linked to weight loss and a reduction in belly fat.
People with higher levels of vitamin D in their body tend to lose more weight when dieting.
One study has shown that drinking milk, which contains calcium and vitamin D, can double weight loss.
The study included 218 overweight women who were tracked as they took part in an exercise and diet programme that lasted for one year.
Half of the group took a vitamin D supplement of 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.”
Up to 50 percent of people may have a vitamin D deficiency.
A deficiency in this vitamin has been linked to increased inflammation the body.
Foods rich in vitamin D include eggs, oily fish like salmon, mushrooms, dairy and foods that are fortified with it, including cereals and juices.
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.”
Along with its involvement in weight loss, vitamin D may also have a beneficial effect on cancer risk.
“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.”
The study was published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research (Duggan et al., 2015).