Getting enough calcium and vitamin D while reducing calorie intake can increase the beneficial effects of weight loss on cholesterol levels adding to the number of mechanisms by which calcium can benefit weight loss on blood fats.
Overweight or obese women who took calcium and vitamin D supplements while on a 15-week diet showed greater drops in LDL or ”bad” cholesterol and increases in HDL (”good”) cholesterol, Dr Angelo Tremblay of Laval University in Ste-Foy, Quebec and colleagues found.
All of the women had been getting less than 800 milligrams a day of calcium at the study’s outset.
”In the clinical context of obesity treatment, calcium supplementation could be recommended in women with inadequate calcium intake to improve the cardiovascular disease risk profile,” Tremblay and his colleagues conclude in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
In an interview Tremblay noted that low calcium intake appears to be fairly common among overweight women. ”Maybe half of our obese patients do not get enough calcium. It’s not a trivial fraction.”
Women who are trying to lose weight should be sure to get adequate amounts of every other vitamin and mineral, as well as calcium and vitamin D, he added, because there is evidence that general vitamin and mineral supplementation may have beneficial effects as well.
Tremblay and his team assigned 63 overweight or obese women with low calcium intake to take two 600-milligram tablets daily of calcium and 200 IU of vitamin D or placebo. The women then ate 700 less calories per day than usual for 15 weeks.
The effect of calcium supplementation on total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio and LDL-to-HDL cholesterol ratio were independent of how much weight the women lost, the researchers found.
There are a number of mechanisms by which calcium may add to the beneficial effects of weight loss on blood fats, Tremblay noted.
For one, calcium appears to interfere with fat absorption in the gut. The mineral also helps the body mobilize and burn fat, and may also aid in appetite control, he added.