University researcher Shalamar Sibley, M.D., found that people with higher levels of vitamin D in their bodies while on low-calorie diets may lose more weight—especially in their midsections.
Sibley and her colleagues measured the levels of two forms of vitamin D—the precursor and active hormonal forms—in 38 overweight men and women. Most had what many experts would consider insufficient vitamin D levels. Study participants were then monitored for 11 weeks while on diets that limited their daily caloric intake to 750 calories fewer than their estimated daily needs.
The results indicate that pre-diet vitamin D levels predicted weight loss. For every unit increase of the precursor form of vitamin D (the commonly measured form of the vitamin), participants lost almost a half pound more on their diets. For each one-unit increase in the active form of vitamin D, they lost nearly one-quarter pound more. In addition, higher baseline levels of both forms of vitamin D predicted a greater loss of abdominal fat.
Sibley, an assistant professor of medicine, cautions against excess vitamin D intake and also emphasizes that more research is needed to confirm her results. “Our findings need to be followed up by the right kind of controlled clinical trial,” she says.
This study was funded by the University of Minnesota, National Institutes of Health, and the Pennock Family Endowment.