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Vitamin D Plus Weight Loss May Significantly Lower Inflammation in Overweight and Obese People

People who are overweight or obese also suffer from chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been shown to contribute to the development and progression of several chronic diseases. A recent study suggests that combining weight loss with vitamin D supplements may have a greater effect on lowering chronic inflammation than weight loss alone in overweight women.

Participants in the study included 218 healthy, overweight older women who had vitamin D levels that were less than 32 ng/mL, the recommended vitamin D level for women. All of the women took part in a 12-month diet and exercise program that included 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise five days a week. During that time, half of the women also took 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily while the other half took a placebo. The researchers measured biomarkers of inflammation at the beginning and end of the study.

At the conclusion of the study, all of the participants had lower inflammation levels, whether or not they took a vitamin D supplement. However, the participants who had the most significant reductions in inflammation were the ones who took vitamin D and lost 5% to 10% of their baseline weight. They had a 37% reduction in pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6, while the placebo group had a 17.2% reduction in IL-6. The women who took vitamin D and lost more than 10% of their baseline weight had similar reductions in IL-6 levels.

Elevated levels of interleukin-6 are associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes and certain cancers.  Some studies have also found a link between increased interleukin-6 levels and depression.

Researchers from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on April 23, 2015, in Cancer Prevention Research.

Previous studies have associated vitamin D with reducing the risk of skin damage, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, combating diabetes, and improving age related macular degeneration.

Vitamin D can be found in milk, fortified cereals, fish, and eggs. Your body also processes vitamin D from the sun but it becomes harder for our bodies to process it as we age. A high quality vitamin D supplement is always a good option if you feel that you’re not getting enough through diet and sun.

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