Weight Loss for Postmenopausal Women
New Research Reports Calcium’s Valuable Potential For Weight Loss
New Research Demonstrates How Dairy-Based Ingredients, Calcium Mineral Supplements Help Support Weight Management.
Daily supplements of calcium, with or without vitamin D, may reduce body fat levels and help maintain lean mass,
suggests new data from a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial.
Secondary analysis of data from a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial found that 1,400 – 1,500 milligrams
of calcium per day, with or without vitamin D3, was associated with lower trunk fat gain and higher lean trunk mass, according
to findings published in Nutrition & Metabolism.
“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 from the Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska..
“The effect of calcium supplementation in this population-based cohort is consistent with the effect of dairy supplementation in fat and lean mass changes in obese subjects with low baseline calcium intake (< 600 mg/d),” they added.
The study adds to an ever growing body of science linking calcium intake, mainly from dairy products, in weight loss.
Over 300m adults are obese worldwide, according to latest statistics from the WHO and the International Obesity Task Force.
About one-quarter of the US adult population is said to be obese, with rates in Western Europe on the rise, although not yet at
In order to examine if calcium supplements could affect obesity or body composition, the researchers recruited 870 post-
menopausal women with an average age of 66, an average Body Mass Index (BMI) of 28.8 kg/m2. The women were
randomly assigned to one of three groups: One group received two placebo capsules; the second group received calcium
supplements and a placebo; and the final group received the calcium plus 1,100 IU of vitamin D3.
While no significant differences were observed for BMI between the groups, the calcium intervention groups were
found to gain less trunk fat with increases of 2.4 and 1.4 percent in the calcium and calcium plus vitamin D groups,
respectively, compared with the placebo group, where trunk fat increased by 5.4 per cent.
Moreover, the calcium-supplemented groups maintained their lean trunk mass to a greater extent than the placebo group,
with reductions of 0.6 and 1 percent in the calcium and calcium plus vitamin D groups, respectively, compared with 2.1 percent
in the placebo group.
The researchers noted that the habitual intake of the women before the trial was not low (average of over 1,000 millgrams
per day). An earlier study from Canada indicated that the potential benefits of calcium supplements may be limited to
women with low habitual intakes of the mineral (British Journal of Nutrition, 2009, Vol. 101, pp. 659-663).
Regarding the potential mechanism, the Canadian study proposed that calcium may affect appetite. Laval University
researchers explained:”Our hypothesis is that the brain can detect the lack of calcium and seeks to compensate by spurring
food intake, which obviously works against the goals of any weight loss program. Sufficient calcium intake seems to stifle
the desire to eat more.”
On the other hand, a meta-analysis published last year in obesity Reviews (Vol. 10, pp. 475-486) indicated that calcium
may aid weight management by increased fat excretion in the feces.
Source: Nutrition & Metabolism 2010, 7:62
“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”