Taking vitamin D supplements has been found to aid weight loss in obese and overweight people who are deficient in the vitamin, research has found.
Previous studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is associated with developing obesity and the risk of obesity-related complications, scientists at the University of Milan said.
They estimated that in northern Italy, severe vitamin D deficiency ranges from 6% in overweight people to 30%-40% in the morbidly obese. Almost all obese subjects did not have a vitamin D level in the optimal range.
For the study they recruited 400 obese or overweight adults who were split into three groups: those who took no supplements, those who took 25,000 vitamin D units a month, and those who took 100,000. All participants were put on the same balanced, low-calorie diet.
After six months, only those who took 100,000 units a month achieved optimal vitamin D status but a significantly greater weight decrease and reduction in waist circumference was observed in both groups that took the supplements.
The study’s authors said: “The present data indicate that in obese and overweight people with vitamin D deficiency, vitamin D supplementation aids weight loss and enhances the beneficial effects of a reduced-calorie diet.
“All people affected by obesity should have their levels of vitamin D tested to see if they are deficient, and if so, begin taking supplements.”