For example, calcium can also help lower your cholesterol.3 In a recent study, it was found that people with cholesterol levels in the high range of 240 to 260 reduced their total cholesterol by 6 percent when they took in an extra 1,800 milligrams of calcium a day.
And the best part is that LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol - the bad cholesterol that's implicated in coronary artery disease, dropped by 11 percent. In addition, calcium has recently been inversely associated with the incidence of colorectal adenomas.4
Calcium & Weight Loss
But there's more. Calcium has also been shown to increase weight loss. A recent study found that an increase in dietary calcium intake, together with a normal protein intake, increased fecal fat and energy excretion by about 350 calories per day.5
This observation may help explain why a high-calcium diet produces weight loss, and it suggests that an interaction with dietary protein level may be important.
Several studies have shown that calcium plays a key role in body weight regulation and especially on fat metabolism (with possible effects on lipolysis, fat oxidation, lipogenesis, energy expenditure, and appetite suppression) and thus is a useful supplement for those looking to decrease weight and body fat.6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
| What Are Lipolysis And Lipogenesis?
Lipolysis is the breakdown of fat stored in fat cells. During this process, free fatty acids are released into the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body.
Lipogenesis, on the other hand, is the production of fat or the conversion of carbohydrates or proteins into fat, also called adipogenesis.
For example, Zemel et al (2002) looked at the effects of calcium supplements on obese adults who were dieting. They found that a high-calcium diet (1200-1300 mg/day) resulted in greater weight and fat loss in humans compared to a low-calcium diet (400-500 mg/day).
Another study published in November 2004 found that a high intake of calcium may hinder weight and fat regain.16 The study found that after putting mice on a low calorie diet and producing weight and body fat loss, that those on a low calcium diet regained their weight after 6 weeks.
However, for those on a high-calcium diet it was a different story. They found that the high-calcium diets produced significant increases in lipolysis, decreases in fatty acid synthase expression and activity, and reduced fat regain. They also found that increasing calcium through the use of dairy products had significantly greater effects on fat regain.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that increasing calcium intake is a boon to those who want to not only lose weight, but to lose fat, improve body composition, and keep that fat and weight from coming back.
- McCarron DA, Reusser ME. Finding consensus in the dietary calcium-blood pressure debate. J Am Coll Nutr 1999; 18: 398S-405S.
- Bowen J, Noakes M, Clifton PM. A high dairy protein, high-calcium diet minimizes bone turnover in overweight adults during weight loss. J Nutr 2004; 134: 568-573.
- Denke MA, Fox MM, Schulte MC. Short-term dietary calcium fortification increases fecal saturated fat content and reduces serum lipids in men. J Nutr 1993; 123: 1047-1053.
- Hartman TJ, Albert PS, Snyder K, et al. The association of calcium and vitamin d with risk of colorectal adenomas. J Nutr. 2005 Feb;135(2):252-9.
- Jacobsen R, Lorenzen JK, Toubro S, Krog-Mikkelsen I, Astrup A. Effect of short-term high dietary calcium intake on 24-h energy expenditure, fat oxidation, and fecal fat excretion. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2005 Jan 18; [Epub ahead of print]
- Davies KM, Heaney RP, Recker RR, Lappe JM, Barger-Lux MJ, Rafferty K, Hinders S. Calcium intake and body weight. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2000; 85: 4635-4638.
- Zemel MB, Shi H, Greer B, Dirienzo D, Zemel PC. Regulation of adiposity by dietary calcium. FASEB J 2000; 14: 1132-1138.
- Zemel MB. Effects of calcium-fortified breakfast cereal on adiposity in a transgenic mouse model of obesity. FASEB J 2001; 15: A598.
- Shi H, Dirienzo D, Zemel MB. Effects of dietary calcium on adipocyte lipid metabolism and body weight regulation in energy-restricted aP2-agouti transgenic mice. FASEB J 2001; 15:291-293.
- Zemel MB, Thompson W, Zemel P, Nocton AM, Morris K, Campbell P. Dietary calcium and dairy products accelerate weight and fat loss during energy restriction in obese adults. Am J Clin Nutr 2002; 75:342S
- Heaney RP. Normalizing calcium intake: projected population effects for body weight. J Nutr 2003; 133: 268S-270S.
- Melanson EL, Sharp TA, Schneider J, Donahoo WT, Grunwald GK, Hill JO. Relation between calcium intake and fat oxidation in adult humans. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2003; 27:196-203
- Papakonstantinou E, Flatt WP, Huth PJ, Harris RBS. High dietary calcium reduces body fat content, digestibility of fat, and serum vitamin D in rats. Obes Res 2003; 11: 387-394.
- Shapses SA, Heshka S, Heymsfield SB. Effect of calcium supplementation on weight and fat loss in women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Feb;89(2):632-7.
- Zemel MB, Thompson W, Milstead A, Morris K, Campbell P. Calcium and dairy acceleration of weight and fat loss during energy restriction in obese adults. Obes Res. 2004 Apr;12(4):582-90.
- Sun X, Zemel MB. Calcium and dairy products inhibit weight and fat regain during ad libitum consumption following energy restriction in Ap2-agouti transgenic mice. J Nutr. 2004 Nov;134(11):3054-60.
- Antonio J, Colker CM, Torina GC, et al. Effects of a Standardized Guggulsterone Phosphate Supplement on Body Composition in Overweight Adults: A Pilot Study. Current Therapeutic Research 1999; 60(4):220-227.