Vitamin D supplementation and body weight status: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Obes Rev. 2014 Jun;15(6):528-37. doi: 10.1111/obr.12162. Epub 2014 Feb 15.


Vitamin D is anticipated to have many extra-skeletal health benefits. We questioned whether supplementation with the vitamin influenced body weight and composition. A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted on high-quality, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that had supplemented vitamin D without imposing any caloric restriction. Eighteen trials reporting either body weight, body mass index (BMI), fat mass (FM), percentage fat mass (%FM) or lean body mass (LBM) met our criteria. Twelve studies provided the required data for the meta-analysis. Vitamin D supplementation did not influence the standardized mean difference (SMD) for body weight, FM, %FM or LBM. A small but non-significant decrease in BMI (SMD = -0.097, 95% confidence interval: [-0.210, 0.016], P = 0.092) was observed. Meta-regression confirmed that neither the absolute vitamin D status achieved nor its change from baseline influenced the SMD of any obesity measure. However, increasing age of the subjects predicted a shift in the SMD for FM towards the placebo treatment, whereas a greater percentage of women in these studies favoured a decrease in FM following vitamin D. Vitamin D supplementation did not decrease measures of adiposity in the absence of caloric restriction. A potential confounding by age and gender was encountered.

Keywords: Obesity; supplementation; vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Body Composition / drug effects
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Placebos
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sex Factors
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage*


  • Placebos
  • Vitamin D