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Vitamin D3 May Improve Heart Health and Reduce Body Fat

Being overweight or even obese can lead to a host of other health problems such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran have found that supplements of vitamin D3 may improve cholesterol levels and reduce body fat for overweight and obese women.

The study was published online ahead of print on February 9, 2012, in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Study participants included 77 overweight and obese women with an average age of 38. The women consumed either 1,000 International Units (IU) of vitamin D3 or a placebo daily. At the end of 12 weeks, the supplement group showed both higher HDL (“good”) and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, while the placebo group showed reductions in both types of cholesterol.

The researchers also noted an increase in the ratio of LDL to Apolipoprotein B. Apolipoprotein B carries LDL cholesterol to cells and is a strong predictor of heart disease. So, despite the increase in LDL, it appears to be from LDL particles that are not associated with atheroscleorsis.

Additionally, body fat mass was significantly decreased in the vitamin D group compared to the placebo group.

Previous research has linked vitamin D with a vast number of health benefits, including reductions in skin cancer, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, improved cardiovascular health, combating diabetes, and improving age related eye degeneration.

Many foods are fortified with vitamin D such as milk, fortified cereals, fish, and eggs. Your body also processes vitamin D from the sun but it becomes harder for our bodies to process vitamin D as we age. A high quality vitamin D3 supplement is a viable option if you feel that you’re not getting enough through diet and sun.

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