Vitamin D Improves Both HDL Levels and Weight Loss

A new prospective randomized clinical study showed that Vitamin D supplements increased levels of the HDL (“good cholesterol”) and improved weight loss.




Many health claims have been made for Vitamin D, although very few such claims have been well substantiated by high quality research studies.

In my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, I exhaustively review and discuss the available scientific data supporting Vitamin D as a potential cancer prevention nutrient.  However, other health claims have also been made for Vitamin D, aside from cancer prevention.  For example, there is some research data available suggesting that low levels of Vitamin D in the blood may be associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.  As with most disease prevention research, though, much of the data supporting this claim for Vitamin D is based upon rather weak methods of clinical research, and there is very little “gold standard” prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical research data available that confirms a role for Vitamin D in cardiovascular disease prevention.  However, a newly published prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded clinical study, which appears in the current issue of the British Journal of Nutrition, adds further support for Vitamin D as a protective factor against cardiovascular disease, particularly among overweight and obese women.

In this new study, 77 otherwise healthy overweight or obese women were secretly randomized to receive either 1,000 International Units (25 micrograms) of Vitamin D per day or a daily placebo (sugar) pill for a period of 12 weeks.  Both groups of patient volunteers were then tested throughout the course of this study, including measurements of their blood pressure, blood cholesterol levels, and weight.  Food intake and physical activity levels were also monitored throughout the course of this clinical research study.

At the end of the study, the blood level of HDL cholesterol (the so-called “good cholesterol”) was found to have significantlyincreased in the group of women who had been secretly randomized to receive daily Vitamin D supplements for 12 weeks.  Similarly, the blood levels of apolipoprotein A-I, which also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease (and which makes up part of the HDL molecule), was also noted to be significantly higher in the group of women who had received Vitamin D supplements, when compared to the women in the placebo control group.  (Moreover, the levels of both HDL and apolipoprotein A-I were noted to have actually decreased, over time, in the group of women who received only daily placebo pills.)

Finally, in this group of overweight and obese women, 12 weeks of daily Vitamin D supplementation was also associated with an average weight loss of just over 5 pounds (2.7 kilograms), whereas the women in the placebo control group lost less than one pound (0.4 kilogram) during the 12 week course of this study.  Interestingly, the enhanced weight loss that was observed in the Vitamin D group was not associated with any differences in the level of physical activity between the two groups of women in this study.

The rather dramatic results of this prospective, randomized, doubled-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical study, therefore, showed that, at least among overweight and obese women, daily Vitamin D supplementation for 12 weeks was associated with heart-healthy improvements in HDL and apolipoprotein A-I levels, as well as significant weight loss.  Although this study included a rather small group of patient volunteers, and should therefore be repeated with a larger cohort of patients, the fact that this study was conducted according to “gold standard” methods of clinical research further adds to the credibility of its findings.  (Whether or not similar improvements in HDL and apolipoprotein A-I levels can be achieved by Vitamin D supplements in non-overweight or non-obese women, or in men, was not addressed by this clinical study.  However, other human and animal studies have suggested that Vitamin D deficiency may, indeed, be associated with lower HDL and apolipoprotein A-I levels in both males and females.)

As excessive levels of Vitamin D can lead to significant health problems, including nausea, vomiting, dehydration, kidney stones, kidney failure, and ulcers of the GI tract, I strongly recommend that you see your physician first if you choose to start taking Vitamin D supplements.

For more information regarding the potential cancer prevention effects of Vitamin D, order your copy of my evidence-based book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, today!

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books.  Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.

Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author

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