Weight loss plus vitamin D lowers inflammation

Weight loss plus vitamin D lowers inflammation

Life Extension Update

Tuesday, July 7, 2015. The July 2015 issue of Cancer Prevention Research reports the finding of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of overweight postmenopausal women which uncovered a reduction in inflammation in response to weight loss and supplementation with vitamin D.

Participants in the study, whose serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were lower than 32 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) upon enrollment, were assigned to a five-day-per-week exercise program combined with a low calorie diet supplemented with 2,000 international units (IU) vitamin D per day or a placebo for one year. Blood samples collected at the beginning and end of the study were assessed for markers of inflammation and other factors.

At the trial's conclusion, women who received the vitamin had an average increase in serum vitamin D of 13.6 ng/mL while those who received a placebo experienced a decline. Although changes in body mass index and other factors were similar between the groups, among those who lost 5% to 10% of their weight, the decline in the inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 was significantly lower among those who received vitamin D compared to those who received a placebo. "We know from our previous studies that by losing weight, people can reduce their overall levels of inflammation, and there is some evidence suggesting that taking vitamin D supplements can have a similar effect if one has insufficient levels of the nutrient," stated lead author Catherine Duggan, PhD, who is a principal staff scientist at the Public Health Sciences Division of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. "It's the first study to test whether adding vitamin D augments the considerable effect of weight loss on inflammatory biomarkers," she announced.

"We were quite surprised to see that vitamin D had an effect on an inflammation biomarker only among women who lost at least 5 percent of their baseline weight," Dr Duggan remarked. "That suggests vitamin D can augment the effect of weight loss on inflammation."

"It is thought that this state of chronic inflammation is pro-tumorigenic, that is, it encourages the growth of cancer cells," she added. "Weight loss reduces inflammation, and thus represents another mechanism for reducing cancer risk. If ensuring that vitamin D levels are replete, or at an optimum level, can decrease inflammation over and above that of weight loss alone, that can be an important addition to the tools people can use to reduce their cancer risk."


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Mayo Clinic finds vitamin D toxicity rare
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The May 2015 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings reported the outcome of a retrospective population-based study that found little incidence of vitamin D toxicity among a large sampling of subjects over a ten year period.

For their study, family medicine expert Thomas D. Thacher and his associates utilized information obtained from the Rochester Epidemiology Project's database—a medical record linkage system of Olmsted County, Minnesota residents. Of 20,308 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] test results available, 1,714 that documented levels greater than 50 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) were included in the current investigation.

Among subjects with 25(OH)D test results that were greater than 50 ng/mL, there were only four cases that were temporarily associated with elevated serum calcium levels (an indicator of possible toxicity) within the three month period before and after testing. "We found that even in those with high levels of vitamin D over 50 ng/mL, there was not an increased risk of hypercalcemia, or elevated serum calcium, with increasing levels of vitamin D," stated Dr Thacher.

Another finding was a rise in the number of 25(OHD) test results that were higher than 50 ng/mL over the ten year period examined in the study. "We were surprised by that degree of dramatic increase in vitamin D levels," Dr Thacher remarked.

In an accompanying editorial, vitamin D authority Michael F. Hollick, PhD, MD, asks whether the slight increase in mortality associated with higher 25(OH)D levels by some research might be attributable to lingering effects of chronic deficiency that preceded treatment with vitamin D rather than to increased vitamin D levels.

"The evidence is clear that vitamin D toxicity is one of the rarest medical conditions and is typically due to intentional or inadvertent intake of extremely high doses of vitamin D," he concluded.


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Life Extension Magazine® July 2015 E-Issue now Available

Life Extension Magazine® E-Issue Now Online

On the cover

As we see it: Turning to stone, by William Faloon


Relentless commitment to quality, by Michael Downey

Relief from irritable bowel syndrome, by Susan Trainor

Nutrients that are best absorbed with your heaviest meal, by Michael Downey

The 2014 World Conference on Insulin Resistance, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease, by Ben Best

Important data on three new oral anticoagulants, by William Faloon


In the News

Ask the doctor: Dr Michael Ozner on cardiac prevention

Super foods: Quinoa, by Michael Downey


Health Concern

Obesity and weight loss

Obese individuals have higher levels of inflammatory markers. Sustained, low-level inflammation has been implicated in the pathogenesis of several significant diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease (Hartaigh 2012; Touvier 2013; Cruz 2012; Holmes 2012). Fat tissue can act much like an endocrine (hormonal) gland, storing and secreting hormones and cytokines (signaling proteins involved in triggering the inflammatory response) into circulation and affecting metabolism throughout the body. Abdominal visceral fat cells may produce inflammatory molecules such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 at levels sufficient to induce an inflammatory response (Trayhurn 2005; Schrager 2007). In overweight individuals, abdominal fat cells may be producing up to 35% of the total interleukin-6 in the body (Mohamed-Ali 1997). Fat tissue can also be infiltrated by macrophages (cells of the immune system that mediate inflammation), which secrete pro-inflammatory cytokines. This accumulation of macrophages appears to be proportional to BMI, and may be a major cause of low-grade, systemic inflammation and insulin resistance in obese individuals (Ortega Martinez de Victoria 2009; Weisberg 2003).

Obesity is a risk factor for several types of cancer. White adipose tissue (i.e., "bad fat") can secrete a variety of hormones and growth factors that may stimulate cancer cell growth. Experimental cancer models in animals suggest that tumors may recruit healthy cells from elsewhere in the body (including white fat) to build the blood vessels critical for the progression of tumor growth (Zhang 2009).

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