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Could vitamin D be a key to successful dieting?

June 15, 2009 |  1:37 pm

Another potential piece to the weight loss puzzle was unveiled recently when researchers discovered there may be a link between vitamin D levels and shedding pounds.

Khp9hpnc A study measured vitamin D levels in 38 obese men and women before and after they went on an 11-week diet in which 750 calories were deducted each day from their total caloric consumption. The participants also had their body composition and fat distribution evaluated using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and computed tomography.

In testing vitamin D levels before and after the diet, researchers discovered a relationship between levels of a precursor form of vitamin D (frequently used as an indicator of vitamin D levels) and weight loss; for every incremental increase of the substance, subjects lost almost a half-pound more while on their diets. Those who had increases in an active form of vitamin D also lost about a quarter-pound more.

Having higher levels of both forms of vitamin D at the start of the diet also forecast more weight lost in the abdomen. Excess abdominal fat has been linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes.

Lead author Dr. Shalamar Sibley, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota, cautioned, however, that a more controlled clinical trial is needed to see if vitamin D supplements will have any benefit in helping people lose weight via diets. The study was presented recently at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Washington, D.C.

-- Jeannine Stein

Photo credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images