Calcium supplementation increases fat loss in obese and overweight young adults
Tuesday, January 15, 2013. In an article published online on January 3, 2013 in Nutrition Journal, researchers in China report a beneficial effect for supplementation with calcium and vitamin D in reducing the body fat of overweight and obese college students.
The trial included 43 men and women between the ages of 18 to 25 years with a body mass index (BMI) of 24 kg/m2 or higher. Food frequency questionnaires administered prior to the trial ascertained that potential subjects' average daily calcium intake was less than 600 milligrams. Participants were randomized to receive an energy restricted diet supplemented with 600 milligrams calcium and 125 international units (IU) vitamin D3, or an unsupplemented diet for 12 weeks. Body fat mass, fat percentage, lean mass, visceral fat mass and visceral fat area were assessed at the beginning of the study and at four week intervals until the end of the treatment period.
While the amount of weight lost by both groups was similar, a significantly greater reduction in fat mass loss and fat percentage occurred in the participants that received calcium in comparison with unsupplemented subjects. Men and women who received calcium and vitamin D experienced a 55.6 percent greater decrease in fat mass loss than the control subjects, and had a greater reduction in visceral fat mass and fat area.
"To our knowledge, ours is among the few relevant studies to evaluate the effect of combined calcium and vitamin D3 administration in very-low calcium consumers by setting initial calcium intake at less than 600 milligrams/day as one of the inclusion criteria," authors Wei Zhu and colleagues note.
Among other mechanisms of body fat reduction, a calcium rich diet has been demonstrated to increase fat oxidation and fat cell apoptosis while reducing lipid absorption. "Future research in this area should be oriented toward a better understanding of the dose–response effect of calcium supplementation (with or without vitamin D) on weight management by administering different dosages of this mineral," the authors conclude.