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Course of vitamin D reduces body fat

Women who take a daily supplement of 1000 IE vitamin D3 can lose almost 3 kg body fat in just 12 weeks and at the same time gain about 2 kg lean body mass. Nutritionists from Tehran University of Medical Sciences will soon publish an article on the subject in Nutrition Journal.

Vitamin D3
Recent studies have shown that vitamin D (of which most of the Western population has a deficiency) reduces the growth of fat reserves. One theory claims that the hypothalamus gets the brains to produce more of the appetite hormone neuropeptide Y if there's too little vitamin D in the body; another theory says that vitamin D inhibits the development of fat cells.

Lab animals that are put on a fattening diet build up more muscle mass and less fat if they are given extra vitamin D3. Human studies have shown that subjects who are on a weight-loss diet lose more body fat when there's more vitamin D3 in their body. In other studies supplementation with vitamin D makes people burn more energy after a meal.

So vitamin D3 supplementation should in theory lead to fat loss and perhaps also an increase in muscle mass. However, Norwegian researchers who gave obese subjects 10,000 to 20,000 IE vitamin D3 weekly did not observe these effects. [Eur J Endocrinol. 2008 Dec;159(6):675-84.] That's why we are interested in the Iranian study.

The test subjects in the Iranian study were 72 overweight women with an average age of 38 and an average BMI of 30. They were less fat than the subjects in the Norwegian study, some of whom had a BMI as high as 47. The Iranian women were given the supplement not weekly but daily during the experiment. The women in the experimental group took 1000 IE or 25 micrograms of vitamin D3 per day. The placebo group took a supplement that contained no active ingredients.

The women's vitamin D3 level rose by almost 40 nanomoles per litre. In the 12 weeks that the experiment lasted they lost 2.7 kg body fat and gained 1.8 kg lean body mass. The women in the placebo group only lost 0.5 kg fat mass and gained 0.4 kg lean body mass.

Course of vitamin D reduces body fat

Course of vitamin D reduces body fat

"Further investigation into whether vitamin D may play a role in regulation of body composition is warranted", the researchers conclude.

Nutr J. 2012 Sep 22;11(1):78. [Epub ahead of print].

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