|Working out in the sun will make you lose fat, taking D3 supplements will not.|
In their latest study, scientists from the Centre de recherche de l'Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québe tried to get to the bottom of the relationships between changes in 25(OH)D levels and changes in adiposity volume (total and by adipose tissue compartment | Gangloff. 2015).
To do so, the researchers recruited sedentary, abdominally obese and dyslipidemic men (n=103) for a a 1-year lifestyle modification program targeted at weight loss.
Body weight, body composition, and fat distribution were assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and computed tomography while 25(OH)D levels were measured with an automated assay. Well, the results of these assessments were interesting, to say the least.
Lowe your body fat, increase your vitamin D levels, it's as "simple as that"
Firstly, the 1-year intervention resulted in a 26% increase in circulating 25(OH)D (from 48±2 nmol/l or 19±0.8 ng/ml (±s.e.m.) to 58±2 nmol/l or 23±0.8 ng/ml, P<0.0001); and secondly, this happened alongside a 26% decrease in visceral adiposity volume (from 1947±458 cm3 to 1459±532 cm³).
Next bad news: You should know this already, but I am going to repeat it, because people keep ignoring the risk of taking tons of vitamin D like lemmings. If you consume too much D with tons of calcium you are at risk of calcification. What's less known, but only recently confirmed once again is that high vitamin D levels together with low dietary calcium intakes will increase bone resorption and decrease bone mineralization in order to maintain normal serum calcium levels (Bashir. 2015).Subjects were individually counselled by a kinesiologist and a nutritionist once every 2 weeks during the first 4 months with subsequent monthly visits in order to elicit a -500 kcal daily energy deficit and to increase physical activity/exercise habits.
|Figure 1: Changes in serum 25OHD (vitamin D) levels and visceral fat during the 1-year lifetime intervention (left); illustration of the logical fallacy that makes people assume that popping vitamin D triggers weight loss.|
- well-controlled studies like Wamberg, et al. (2013), who found marginal, non-significant increases in subcutaneous fat and no change in visceral fat in response to 7,000 IU vitamin D/day in their controlled randomized trial with obese adults with low vitamin D levels, or
- meta-analyses like the most recent one by Pathak et al. which found that "[v]itamin D supplementation d[oes] not influence the standardized mean difference (SMD) for body weight, FM, %FM or LBM" (Pathak. 2014)
What remains unquestionable, though, is the correlation between high body fat levels and low vitamin D levels that is consistent over almost all observational (Wortsman. 2000; Arunabh. 2003; Kremer. 2009; Lagunova. 2009; Lenders. 2009; Forney. 2014) and experimental studies (Blum. 2008; Lee. 2009) in both sexes and across all age-groups. To interpret this as evidence in favor of potential body-fat reducing effects of vitamin D supplements is yet totally unwarranted.
- Arunabh, Sonia, et al. "Body fat content and 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in healthy women." The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 88.1 (2003): 157-161.
- Bashir, Mina, et al. "Effects of high doses of vitamin D3 on mucosa-associated gut microbiome vary between regions of the human gastrointestinal tract." European Journal of Nutrition (2015): 1-11.
- Blum, Miriam, Gerard E. Dallal, and Bess Dawson-Hughes. "Body size and serum 25 hydroxy vitamin D response to oral supplements in healthy older adults." Journal of the American College of Nutrition 27.2 (2008): 274-279.
- Forney, Laura A., et al. "Vitamin D status, body composition, and fitness measures in college-aged students." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 28.3 (2014): 814-824.
- Gangloff, A., et al. "Effect of adipose tissue volume loss on circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels: results from a 1-year lifestyle intervention in viscerally obese men." International journal of obesity (2005) (2015).
- Kremer, Richard, et al. "Vitamin D status and its relationship to body fat, final height, and peak bone mass in young women." The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 94.1 (2009): 67-73.
- Lagunova, Zoya, et al. "The dependency of vitamin D status on body mass index, gender, age and season." Anticancer research 29.9 (2009): 3713-3720.
- Lenders, Carine M., et al. "Relation of body fat indexes to vitamin D status and deficiency among obese adolescents." The American journal of clinical nutrition 90.3 (2009): 459-467.
- Lee, Paul, et al. "Adequacy of vitamin D replacement in severe deficiency is dependent on body mass index." The American journal of medicine 122.11 (2009): 1056-1060.
- Nimitphong H, Holick MF, Fried SK, Lee MJ. 25-hydroxyvitamin d(3) and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin d(3) promote the differentiation of human subcutaneous preadipocytes. PLoS One. 2012; 7(12):e52171.
- Pathak, K., et al. "Vitamin D supplementation and body weight status: a systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials." Obesity Reviews 15.6 (2014): 528-537.
- Rosenstreich, Saul J., Clayton Rich, and Wade Volwiler. "Deposition in and release of vitamin D3 from body fat: evidence for a storage site in the rat." Journal of Clinical Investigation 50.3 (1971): 679.
- Salehpour, Amin, et al. "A 12-week double-blind randomized clinical trial of vitamin D3 supplementation on body fat mass in healthy overweight and obese women." Nutr J 11.1 (2012): 78.
- Sneve, M., Y. Figenschau, and R. Jorde. "Supplementation with cholecalciferol does not result in weight reduction in overweight and obese subjects." European Journal of Endocrinology 159.6 (2008): 675-684.
- Waldron, Jenna Louise, et al. "Vitamin D: a negative acute phase reactant." Journal of clinical pathology (2013): jclinpath-2012.
- Wamberg, L., et al. "Effects of vitamin D supplementation on body fat accumulation, inflammation, and metabolic risk factors in obese adults with low vitamin D levels—results from a randomized trial." European journal of internal medicine 24.7 (2013): 644-649.
- Wortsman, Jacobo, et al. "Decreased bioavailability of vitamin D in obesity." The American journal of clinical nutrition 72.3 (2000): 690-693.