Table 2 Randomized controlled trials on the influence of vitamin D on measures of body fatness

From: Calcium and vitamin D for obesity: a review of randomized controlled trials

Authors and year Study location Study details Outcomes Significance and direction of loss in measures of body fatness Comments
     BW BMI WC or WHR FM or %FM FFM  
I Studies designed primarily for weight and body composition changes
Sneve et al. (2008) Tromsø, Norway Study: three arms, parallel, double blind. 20 000 IU D3 twice a week, or 20 000 IU once a week plus placebo or placebo twice a week. 500 mg calcium to all.
Subjects: 445overweight, and obese men and women.
Duration: 12 months.
Primary outcome: anthropometry and body composition.
↓PTH and ↑ 25(OH) D in both groups receiving D3; serum calcium unchanged. No No No No Large sample, long duration, good retention. Could calcium mask vitamin D effects? Lack of 4th arm with placebo for both.
Zittermann et al. (2009) Leipzig, Germany Study: double blind, parallel, either vitamin D3 (83 μg/d) or placebo during caloric restriction.
Subjects: 200 subjects, BMI>27 kg/m2 and 25OHD<30 nmol/l.
Duration: 12 months.
Primary outcome: weight and fat loss.
Vitamin D increased significantly more in supplemented group. No No No No  
II Studies with body composition as a secondary outcome
Jorde & Figenschau (2009) Tromsø Norway Study: parallel, single blind, 40 000 IU D3 per week versus placebo.
Subjects: 36 subjects with T2DM.
Duration: 6 months.
Primary outcome: glucose metabolism and changes in HbA1c.
Significant reciprocal changes in
25(OH)D and PTH in the D3 group compared with placebo.
No No ? Inadequate power, despite high dose of vitamin D.
Body fatness was not primary outcome.
Nagpal et al. (2009) New Delhi, India Study: parallel, double blind.
Subjects: 100 apparently healthy men, with central obesity, received three doses of vitamin D3 (120 000 IU per fortnight) or placebo.
Duration: 6 weeks.
Primary outcome: insulin sensitivity from a variety of measures.
No significant change in BW, BMI, WC, WHR between and within groups. No No No Anthropometric measures.
25(OH)D increased but below 75 nmol/l.
Short duration.
Ortega et al. (2008) Madrid, Spain Study: parallel, assigned to either of two hypocaloric diets.
Subjects: 60 women, 20–35 years.
Duration: 2 weeks.
Primary outcome: body weight and composition.
Those with 25 (OH)D>50 nmol/l showed greater body-fat loss and increase in FFM irrespective of diet allocation. No No Yes↑ Yes↓ Short duration, secondary analysis.
Shahar et al. (2010) Leipzig, Germany Study: parallel,
Subjects: 126 men and women, BMI>27 kg/m2 or presence of T2DM or CHD formed a subset of a larger study.
Duration: 2 years.
Primary outcome: secondary analysis of body weight.
Tertiles of change in serum 25(OH)D significantly associated with greater 24-months weight loss. Yes↑ Lack of other measures of body fatness.
Long-term, one-phase trial, high retention rate.
von Hurst et al. (2010) Auckland, New Zealand Study: parallel, double blind, 100 μg/d (4000 IU) D3 or placebo.
Subjects: 106 South Asian women, with D3 deficiency and insulin resistance.
Duration: 6 months.
Primary outcome: insulin resistance.
26% of intervention group achieved vitamin D>80 nmol/l no relationship between change in vitamin D concentration and BMI. No Body fatness was secondary outcome.
  1. Abbreviations: BMI, body mass index; BW, body weight; D3, cholecalciferol; FM, fat mass in kg or % of weight; FFM, fat-free mass; T2DM, type 2 diabetes; WC, waist circumference; WHR, waist-hip ratio; Yes, significant effect; ↑ or ↓, increase or decrease.