by Reshma Anand on  September 4, 2015 at 1:05 PM Health In Focus
Weight Loss Combined With Vitamin D Reduces Chronic Inflammation Linked to Cancers
Combination of weight loss and Vitamin D can reduce chronic inflammation, revealed a new study. For the very first time, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found this by analyzing more than 200 obese postmenopausal women who had low levels of Vitamin D in their body.

Vitamin D is responsible to regulate calcium levels and bone metabolism in humans. The study focusses on establishing the nutrient's ability in controlling chronic inflammation which is associated with cancer, cardiovascular health and weight loss.

Inflammation is a response by the body's immune system when the host comes in contact with a foreign body like bacteria, virus etc. Chronic inflammation occurs mostly in obese people as the body produces cytokines continually as a response against the antigen. Cytokines are cell signaling molecules that are associated with the immune system for acting against an infection.

When cytokines are produced uncontrollably, it induces malignant cell transformation in the surrounding tissue which is nothing but a tumor or cancer. Thus chronic inflammation can trigger cancer and also many chronic diseases. Therefore, it is necessary to control the production of cytokines in obese people.

Previous studies have shown that weight loss can help reduce the levels of inflammation and Vitamin D can also do the same in people with low levels of this nutrient. Therefore researchers have analyzed both these factors by combining them to see if it boosts their effect on obese people.

"It's the first study to test whether adding vitamin D augments the considerable effect of weight loss on inflammatory biomarkers," said Dr. Catherine Duggan, lead author of the study.

Study Highlights

Duggan and her colleagues from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center studied about 200 overweight, postmenopausal women who had insufficient levels of vitamin D. For the very first time they analyzed that weight loss in combination with vitamin D had greater effects in reducing chronic inflammation than weight loss alone.

Researchers analyzed 218 obese, older women who had less than recommended levels of vitamin D in their body (less than 32 ng/mL). They also underwent a rigorous diet and exercise program for 12 months that included 45 minutes vigorous physical activity for five days a week. Half the study population was given 2000 IU of vitamin D daily and other half received a placebo or dummy vitamin for one year.

They found that all participants had reduced levels of inflammation regardless of the vitamin intake. The participants who took vitamin D had 37% reduction in a cytokine called interleukin-6 (IL-6) as compared to only 17.2% reduction in the placebo group.

"While IL-6 has normal functions in the body, elevated levels are associated with an increased risk of developing certain cancers and diabetes and may be implicated as a cause of depression", said Duggan.

Thus the study concluded that vitamin D had an effect on inflammation biomarker only among women who lost at least 5% of their baseline weight. This suggests that vitamin D can augment the effect of weight loss on inflammation.

"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," said Duggan.

The authors also encouraged women to speak openly to their health care providers to measure their levels of vitamin D for determining the most appropriate dosage.

Source: Medindia

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