Having sufficient levels of vitamin D in the body can double weight loss and shed belly fat, research finds.
Around half the world’s population is deficient in vitamin D.
One study has shown a doubling of weight loss from drinking milk, which contains high levels of calcium and vitamin D, both of which are linked to weight loss.
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.
For the current study, 218 obese and overweight women were split into two groups.
All of them had a vitamin D deficiency.
Both groups were put on a weight loss programme, but only half were given 2,000 IU of vitamin D each day.
At the end of the 12 months of the study, the women with sufficient levels of vitamin D in their body had lost 19 pounds.
However, those with low levels of vitamin D had only lost 12 pounds.
Dr Anne McTiernan, study co-author, said:
“This suggests women trying to lose weight might want to have their D levels checked by their provider and replenish their vitamin D levels either through supplements or sun and then have their D levels rechecked after a few months to make sure they’ve risen to a healthy level.”
Those taking vitamin D also reduced the levels of inflammation in their bodies.
Dr Catherine Duggan, study co-author, said:
“An overweight person’s body is in a state of chronic inflammation and all of these inflammation proteins that the body produces can cause things like elevated risk for cancer and diabetes.
Vitamin D helped with that. It could make the condition of being overweight less stressful on the body.”
The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Mason et al., 2014).