More calcium and vitamin D may aid weight management

September 14, 2010

Previous research has shown that lacking Vitamin D leads to a higher concentration of fat at the expense of muscle and that if you lack calcium, the body’s great regulator “the hypothalamus” will not shut down your appetite. New research adds to the evidence supporting a role for a leaner-trimmer body by showing that increasing intakes of calcium and higher blood levels of vitamin D may boost weight loss according to the findings from a two-year clinical trial.

     Average calcium intakes of 580 milligrams per day and blood levels of vitamin D of 30.2 nanograms per milliliter were associated with 5.3 kg weight loss over the two years of intervention, according to the findings. “Our study suggests that both higher dairy calcium intake and increased serum vitamin D are related to greater diet-induced weight loss,” wrote the researchers, led by Dr. Danit Shahar from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. Dr. Shahar and her co-workers analyzed data from 322 people with an average age of 52 and an average BMI of 31 kg/m2. One hundred and twenty-six of these people were followed for a further six months to track vitamin D levels and the results were tabulated.

     Only recently a secondary analysis of data from a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial found that 1,400 or 1,500 milligrams of calcium per day, with or without vitamin D3, was associated with lower trunk fat gain and higher lean trunk mass (Nutrition & Metabolism, 2010, 7:62).

     Regarding the potential mechanism, aCanadian study proposed that calcium may affect appetite. Laval University researcher Angelo Tremblay stated: "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. The new study is published online ahead of print in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition