Posted by: Chris Maloney | September 7, 2012

Will Vitamin D Help You Lose Weight?

Picture of an Obese Teenager (146kg/322lb) wit...

Picture of an Obese Teenager (146kg/322lb) with Central Obesity, side view.Self Made Picture of an Obese Teenager (Myself) (146kg/322lb) with Central Obesity, Front View. Feel Free to use. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think Vitamin D is a great vitamin.  It would be more accurately described as a hormone, because it modifies a range of body functions.

I’ve written previously about how much vitamin D you need for bone health and how much vitamin D is too much.

But will this very necessary nutrient help you lose weight?

In a longitudinal (following over time) study of elderly women, it didn’t make much difference.  In a study of women dieting, vitamin D levels increased in women who lost the most weight.  So any association between vitamin D and weight loss has not been shown.  At this point it would be safer to say that losing weight helps with vitamin D levels, not the other way around.

Here are the study abstracts:

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2012 Jun 25. [Epub ahead of print]

Associations Between 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Weight Gain in Elderly Women.


1  Center for Health Research , Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Portland, Oregon.


Abstract   Background: 25-Hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels are lower in obese individuals. Determining whether low vitamin D status can predispose weight gain requires a longitudinal study.   Methods: From a community-based multicenter U.S. prospective cohort of 9704 (Study of Osteoporotic Fractures [SOF]), 4659 women aged ≥65 with baseline 25(OH)D measurement were followed for 4.5 years. They were weighed at baseline and follow-up visits, and a subset (n=1054) had 25(OH)D levels remeasured at follow-up.   Results: Women with 25(OH)D levels ≥30 ng/mL had lower baseline weight (141.6 pounds) compared to women with 25(OH)D levels <30 ng/mL (148.6 pounds) (p<0.001). Overall, 25(OH)D status was not associated with weight change over 4.5 years, although there was a significant interaction between 25(OH)D status and weight change category (loss, gain, stable) (p<0.0001). In women who gained ≥5% weight, those with baseline 25(OH)D levels ≥30 ng/mL gained 16.4 pounds (12.2% of baseline weight) over 4.5 years compared to 18.5 pounds (13.9% of baseline weight) in women with levels <30 ng/mL (p=0.04). In women who lost ≥5% weight or remained stable (<5% weight change), there was no association between 25(OH)D status at baseline and weight change. Among women who gained weight and had 25(OH)D measured at both visits, having sustained or developing 25(OH)D levels ≥30 ng/mL was associated with less weight gain between visits (14.81 vs. 16.34 pounds, p=0.04).   Conclusions: Higher 25(OH)D levels are associated with lower weight gains, suggesting low vitamin D status may predispose to fat accumulation.

PMID:  22731629
Obesity (Silver Spring). 2012 Mar 8. doi: 10.1038/oby.2012.57. [Epub ahead of print]

Weight Loss Is Associated With Increased Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D in Overweight or Obese Women.


Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, and Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA.


Low circulating concentrations of vitamin D metabolites have been associated with increased risk for several diseases and clinical conditions. Large observational studies and surveys have shown that obesity is independently associated with lower serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration. Few studies have examined the effect of weight loss on serum 25(OH)D concentration. The purpose of this study was to prospectively examine the effect of weight loss on serum 25(OH)D concentration. Data were collected from 383 overweight or obese women who participated in a 2-year clinical trial of a weight-loss program, in which 51% (N = 195) lost at least 5% of baseline weight by 24 months, 18% (N = 67) lost 5-10%, and 33% (N = 128) lost >10%. Women who did not lose weight at 24 months had an increase in serum 25(OH)D of 1.9 (9.7) ng/ml (mean (SD)); 25(OH)D increased by 2.7 (9.1) ng/ml for those who lost 5-10% of baseline weight; and 25(OH)D increased by 5.0 (9.2) ng/ml for those who lost >10% of baseline weight (P = 0.014). At baseline, 51% (N = 197) of participants met or exceeded the recommended serum concentration of 20 ng/ml. By study end, 64% (N = 230) of overweight or obese women met this goal, as well as 83% (N = 20) of those whose weight loss achieved a normal BMI. These findings suggest that weight loss, presumably associated with a reduction in body fat, is associated with increased serum 25(OH)D concentration in overweight or obese women.


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