Vitamin D improves insulin handling in obesity

Doctors wanted to test if a low-calorie diet plus vitamin D could improve insulin sensitivity in overweight people low in vitamin D.

In this study, 18 obese, nondiabetic men and women, aged 18 to 70, deficient in vitamin D, went on a low-calorie diet (500 calories less than calorie balance), plus a placebo or 25,000 IU of vitamin D per week. 

After three months, the placebo group had lost 10 percent of body weight while those taking vitamin D saw a 7.5 percent decrease. The placebo group lost an average of 2.4 pounds in fat mass, while the vitamin D group lost 3.2 pounds.

Vitamin D levels increased to 17 from 14 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/mL) for placebo, and doubled to 30 from 15 ng/mL for vitamin D. One in three in the placebo group saw a 20 percent improvement in insulin sensitivity compared to three in four of those taking vitamin D. The somewhat small effect was seen primarily in the vitamin D deficient subjects with obesity whose vitamin D levels significantly increased after treatment.

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