Vitamin D supplementation enhances the beneficial effects of weight loss on cardiovascular disease risk markers

Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 May;89(5):1321-7. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2008.27004. Epub 2009 Mar 25.


Background: High blood concentrations of parathyroid hormone and low concentrations of the vitamin D metabolites 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] and calcitriol are considered new cardiovascular disease risk markers. However, there is also evidence that calcitriol increases lipogenesis and decreases lipolysis.

Objective: We investigated the effect of vitamin D on weight loss and traditional and nontraditional cardiovascular disease risk markers in overweight subjects.

Design: Healthy overweight subjects (n = 200) with mean 25(OH)D concentrations of 30 nmol/L (12 ng/mL) received vitamin D (83 microg/d) or placebo in a double-blind manner for 12 mo while participating in a weight-reduction program.

Results: Weight loss was not affected significantly by vitamin D supplementation (-5.7 +/- 5.8 kg) or placebo (-6.4 +/- 5.6 kg). However, mean 25(OH)D and calcitriol concentrations increased by 55.5 nmol/L and 40.0 pmol/L, respectively, in the vitamin D group but by only 11.8 nmol/L and 9.3 pmol/L, respectively, in the placebo group (P < 0.001), whereas a more pronounced decrease occurred in the vitamin D group than in the placebo group in blood concentrations of parathyroid hormone (-26.5% compared with -18.7%; P = 0.014), triglycerides (-13.5% compared with +3.0%; P < 0.001), and the inflammation marker tumor necrosis factor-alpha (-10.2% compared with -3.2%; P = 0.049). The beneficial biochemical effects were independent of the loss in body weight, fat mass, and sex. However, compared with placebo, vitamin D supplementation also increased LDL-cholesterol concentrations (+5.4% compared with -2.5%; P < 0.001).

Conclusions: The results indicate that a vitamin D supplement of 83 microg/d does not adversely affect weight loss and is able to significantly improve several cardiovascular disease risk markers in overweight subjects with inadequate vitamin D status participating in a weight-reduction program. This trial was registered at as NCT00493012.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Calcifediol / blood
  • Calcifediol / deficiency
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Overweight / drug therapy
  • Overweight / physiopathology
  • Placebos
  • Risk Factors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Weight Loss / drug effects*
  • Weight Loss / physiology


  • Biomarkers
  • Placebos
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcifediol

Associated data