Supplementation with vitamin D could help promote weight loss, a recent study suggests.
Taking the supplement is linked to weight loss, lower body fat and better cholesterol readings.
Around half the world’s population is deficient in vitamin D.
One reason for the beneficial effect of vitamin D may be its link to the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Serotonin can affect everything from sleep to mood.
High levels of vitamin D may also suppress the storage of fat.
In contrast, having low levels of vitamin D in the body is linked to the storing of fat.
Foods that are rich in vitamin D include oily fish and eggs, but most people get their vitamin D from the action of sunlight on the skin.
For the study, 232 obese young people were followed over one year.
Half of them were given a vitamin D supplement.
They took a high level for six weeks and then continued on a lower maintenance dose for the rest of the year.
The typical level of vitamin D supplementation for an adult is around 10 micrograms per day.
The results showed that those given vitamin D supplementation had less body fat, lower cholesterol and a lower body mass index after one year.
Professor Evangelia Charmandari, study author, said:
“These findings suggest that simple vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk of overweight and obese children developing serious heart and metabolic complications in later life.”
Professor Charmandari recommends considering a vitamin D test:
“Although these initial findings indicate that vitamin D could be used in the treatment of obesity, there remains a lack of evidence on the safety and long-term effects of supplementation, particularly if there is no vitamin D deficiency.
However, if your child is overweight or obese I recommend that you consult your primary care physician for advice, and consider having their vitamin D levels tested.”
The study was presented at the 57th Annual European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology.