Latest News » Vitamin D supplements and weight loss can alleviate chronic inflammation

Chronic inflammation is associated with several serious conditions.

Inflammation is part of a healthy immune system response, but in some cases our bodies take the process too far. Chronic inflammation occurs when our immune system fails to "shut off" normal inflammation, which has damaging effects on arteries, the brain and joint function. A flood of immune cells interfere with healthy tissue, leading to mutations and pressure on artery walls. Long-term chronic inflammation has been linked to diabetes, depression, cancer and heart disease, yet unfortunately, few sufferers are aware that they even have the condition, as most general screens do not recognize an inflammatory marker called C-reactive protein that is a warning sign of the condition.

Chronic inflammation is commonly the result of repeated or prolonged infections, smoking or obesity. Traditional treatments consist of the use of statin drugs, which can cause severe muscle aches, and whose long-term effects are still not well understood. However, a new study published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, has found a more accessible and natural means of combating chronic inflammation. 

The study found that vitamin D supplementation combined with healthy weight loss has a more powerful effect on reducing chronic inflammation than weight loss alone. The study looked at 218 overweight women who were slightly vitamin D deficient that underwent a 12-month diet and exercise program. Half received vitamin D supplements while the other half received placebos. Those who received the supplements saw a 37 percent average reduction in a chronic inflammation biomarker, compared to a 17 percent reduction for those who received the placebo. 

"Weight loss reduces inflammation, and thus represents another mechanism for reducing cancer risk," the study's lead author, Catherine Duggan, Ph.D., a principal staff scientist in the Public Health Sciences Division at Fred Hutch, said in a statement. "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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