Meta-analysis tests vitamin D supplementation for weight loss theory

April 21, 2014 by Hamish Hastie
Literature review: does vitamin D have a role to play in combating obesity? Credit: Lauren Silverman

A Curtin University study has cast doubt on claims vitamin D helps with fat loss after a meta-analysis of 12 high-quality vitamin D randomised control trials showed it had little impact on adiposity or obesity measures.

The School of Public Health study reviewed to see whether supplementation with vitamin D without influenced body weight and composition.

Study co-author Associate Professor Mario Soares says the research was sparked by a newfound interest in vitamin D for its extraskeletal benefits.

"The role of vitamin D is re-emerging from its more traditional aspect of controlling calcium and ," he says.

"We felt it was time to look at the literature out there and come to a decision—does vitamin D by itself actually have a role to play in obesity?"

Researchers conducted the meta-analysis of studies which had the right data for either body weight, body mass index (BMI), fat mass, percentage fat mass or lean body mass.

They found, apart from a small non-significant decrease in BMI, vitamin D supplementation did not decrease measures of adiposity in the absence of caloric restriction.

Prof Soares says a lot of the literature they reviewed had been designed with bone health or bone density in mind and many did not report key findings on composition despite measurements from dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans.

"Essentially we didn't find any significant effect … in one way it's gratifying because there's nothing magical about vitamin D to make you lose weight without you reducing your calorie intake."

Future vitamin D research planned

Prof Soares says there is still work to be done with vitamin D research.

"Animal data still shows very strong evidence that it has a role to play in energy metabolism but the human evidence to date is not stacking up," he says.

"Partly that's because there are not many studies that have been specifically designed to look for it and what we're dealing with now is a lot of retrospective analysis of existing trials designed for other endpoints."

Prof Soares says his group has a new vitamin D trial planned for the second half of this year.

"Essentially what we will do is screen for people who have a poor vitamin D status, then we're going to correct their status while placing them on a weight loss diet for three months," he says.

"We're going to monitor detailed at the start, during and at the end.

"We believe correcting D status during a period of weight loss is a way forward since it could augment fat loss."

Explore further: Vitamin D deficiency contributes to poor mobility among severely obese people

Related Stories

Vitamin D deficiency contributes to poor mobility among severely obese people

April 15, 2014
Among severely obese people, vitamin D may make the difference between an active and a more sedentary lifestyle, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism ...

Calcium, vitamin D modulate human energy metabolism

March 12, 2012
(HealthDay) -- There is considerable evidence that calcium and vitamin D intake are influential in modulating energy metabolism in humans, according to a study published online March 2 in Obesity Reviews.

New analysis suggests that further trials of vitamin D have little chance of showing health benefits

January 23, 2014
A new study concludes that evidence is lacking for substantial health benefits of vitamin D—and that results of several multi-million-dollar trials currently underway are unlikely to alter this view.

Study finds no evidence that vitamin D supplements reduce depression

March 18, 2014
Vitamin D deficiency has been implicated in numerous health conditions in recent years, including depressed mood and major depressive disorder. Recent observational studies provide some support for an association of vitamin ...

Vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial in depression

April 7, 2014
(HealthDay)—Vitamin D supplementation has no overall effect on depressive symptoms, but may have a significant effect for those with clinically significant depression, according to a review published online March 14 in ...

Low Vitamin D may not be a culprit in menopause symptoms

April 16, 2014
A new study from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) shows no significant connection between vitamin D levels and menopause symptoms. The study was published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause ...

Recommended for you

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Why sugary drinks and protein-rich meals don't go well together

July 20, 2017
Having a sugar-sweetened drink with a high-protein meal may negatively affect energy balance, alter food preferences and cause the body to store more fat, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Nutrition.

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.