If you consume a low amount of Calcium, supplementing with it may boost weight loss

March 20, 2009

Giving Calcium supplements to obese people who are low in Calcium could produce weight loss of up to six kilograms (over 13 pounds), says a new study from Canada. The researchers from the Universit Laval report that additional Calcium from a supplement affected appetite by improving satiety in obese women with average daily Calcium intakes of less than 600 milligrams. “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,” said lead researcher Angelo Tremblay. “Sufficient calcium intake seems to stifle the desire to eat more.” The study adds to an ever growing body of science linking Calcium intake and sometimes dairy products to weight loss.  

Dr. Tremblay’s team recruited 63 overweight and obese women (average age 43, average BMI 32 kg/m2) and assigned them to a 15-week weight-reducing programme supplemented with either a daily calcium plus vitamin D supplement (1200 mg calcium and 10 micrograms vitamin D), or placebo. At the end of the study when the researchers analysed women with very low-calcium intakes, defined as less that 600 milligrams, they found that weight loss was almost 6 kg, compared to 1 kg for women in the control group. The change in the womens fat mass was related to a change in lipid intake, they added. “We propose that this change in lipid intake could be influenced by a calcium-specific appetite control,” wrote the researchers.  

Dr Tremblay added that sufficient calcium consumption is therefore important to ensuring the success of any weight loss program. Over 50% of obese women who come to the clinic run by his research team do not consume the recommended daily intake, he added. The study is published in the March 2009 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition..