Vitamin D is a ‘power nutrient’ that helps prevent cancer, heart attack and stroke—but only if you’re not overweight.
It has very little benefit for people with a BMI (body-mass index) above 25, who seem to metabolize the vitamin differently.
Overweight and obese people may need to dramatically up the recommended dose, or get more tailored support, say researchers from Brigham and Woman’s Hospital.
They assessed the benefits of taking vitamin D supplements in a group of 25,871 healthy people who were more than 50 years old. The initial results found that the vitamin wasn’t helping prevent cancer or heart problems—but when the researchers stripped out the results from those with a BMI greater than 25, they saw up to a 40 percent reduction in cancers, heart disease and other chronic conditions.
The overall results were dampened by overweight or obese participants, who didn’t get any benefits from the vitamin. “There seems to be something different happening with vitamin D metabolism at higher body weights,” said Deirdre K Tobias, one of the researchers.