Research Highlight

Vitamin A to battle the bulge

Biplab Das

doi:10.1038/nindia.2008.211 Published online 27 May 2008

Vitamin A helps dissipate energy from fat.

High vitamin A consumption could reduce body weight. New research in rats has shown that vitamin A could be a potential antidote to human obesity.

Recent studies have hinted that vitamin A modulates the growth of adipose tissue. To find out whether it really reduces body weight, the researchers experimented on 12 lean and 12 obese rats, further dividing them into groups. One group of lean and obese rats was fed with 0.6 mg vitamin A and the other 129 mg of the vitamin per kg diet. Their adipose tissue and liver were analysed after two months.

High vitamin A-supplemented obese rats showed significant reduction in body weight gain compared to controls. Reduction in retroperitoneal white adipose tissue (RPWAT) was seen only in high vitamin A-fed obese rats.

"In obese rats, vitamin A activates a protein called brown adipose tissue-uncoupling protein 1 (BAT- UCP1), which aids in dissipation of energy as heat stored in fat," says lead researcher Ayyalasomayajula Vajreswari. This mechanism is called thermogenesis and leads to reduction in weight gain. In lean rats, vitamin A reduces weight triggering mass death of cells.


  1. Jeyakumar, S. M. et al. Vitamin A regulates obesity in WNIN/Ob obese rat; independent of stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 370, 243-247 (2008)