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Nutrient - Calcium has weight loss potential

By Holly Taylor BSc(Hons) MBANT NTCC

New data, published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, suggests that daily supplements of calcium, with or without vitamin D, may reduce body fat levels and help maintain lean mass in postmenopausal women.

In order to examine if calcium supplements could affect obesity or body composition, Dr Zhao and her co-workers recruited 870 postmenopausal women, with an average age of 66 and an average BMI of 28.8kg/m2. The women were randomly assigned to one of three groups: one group received two dummy capsules; the second group received 1,400-1,500mg calcium supplements plus a dummy capsule and the final group received the calcium plus 1,100iu of vitamin D3. The women were asked to take the supplements daily for four years and report to the clinic on a yearly basis to have their BMI and body composition measured.

At the end of the trial, the data showed that while the dummy capsule group gained 5.4% trunk fat, those taking the calcium and the calcium plus vitamin D only gained 2.4% and 1.4% trunk fat, respectively. What’s more, the calcium-supplemented groups maintained their lean trunk mass to a greater extent than those taking the dummy capsules. 

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first clinical trial, in a population-based postmenopausal women cohort, to observe that increasing calcium intake, in the form of non-dairy calcium supplementation, can prevent gain of fat mass and loss of lean mass,” wrote the researchers, led by Lan-Juan Zhao from the Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha. 

Article References

Zhou J et al. (2010) The effect of calcium and vitamin D supplementation on obesity in postmenopausal women: secondary analysis for a large-scale, placebo-controlled, double-blind, 4-year longitudinal clinical trial. Nutr Metab (Lond). 23;7:62.

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