Abstracted by Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS, from “Dairy calcium intake, serum vitamin D, and successful weight loss” published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Posted October 6, 2010.
It is currently estimated that more than two-thirds of US adults are classified as overweight or obese (having a BMI of 30 or higher) (1). Since the National Health Examination Survey I (NHANES I) data was first collected in 1962, the prevalence of being overweight and obese has increased by 40% in men and nearly 50% in women (2). There are numerous health complications from being overweight or obese, including nearly all chronic diseases: heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, arthritis, and liver and gallbladder diseases (3).
Now a new study (4) has found that calcium and vitamin D may help with weight loss. In the study, researchers analyzed data on 322 patients with an average age of 52 and an average Body Mass Index of 31 kg/m2 participating in the Dietary Intervention Randomized Controlled Trial 5). The patients provided feedback on their dietary intake with a 127-item Food Frequency Questionnaire (6) at months 6, 12, and 24 of the study. No advice was given to the patients on exercise or weight loss.
Six months into the study, the researchers found those in the highest one-third of calcium intake (582 mg per day) had lost 20% more weight (13 lbs vs. 10.5 lbs) than those in the lowest one-third of calcium intake (158.5 mg per day). For vitamin D blood levels, those in the highest one-third (30.2 ng/mL) had 43% greater weight loss (16.5 vs. 9.5 lbs) compared to those with the lowest one-third of blood levels (14.5 ng/mL). While the first 6 months produced the greatest weight loss with both calcium and vitamin D groups, the high calcium group eventually had 11.5 pounds of weight loss after 2 years compared to 6.5 pounds of weight loss in the low calcium group. For the vitamin D grouping, those in the highest intake group were at 12 pounds of weight loss after years compared to 9 pounds in the lowest group.
Although the researcher did not make any suggestions for the initial rapid weight loss in the first 6 months of the study, they went on to conclude that “our findings suggest that both higher consumption of dairy calcium and increased serum vitamin D are independently associated with successful weight loss.”
- Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Curtin LR, McDowell MA, Tabak CJ, Flegal KM. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States, 1999–2004. JAMA. 2006;295:1549–55.
- Ruhm CJ. Current and future prevalence of obesity and severe obesity in the United States. National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 13181, 2007. Available from: http://papers.nber.org/papers/w13181.
- “Introduction: Overweight and Obesity” posted on http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/Obesity/
- Shahar DR. Dairy calcium intake, serum vitamin D, and successful weight loss. Amer Jou Clin Nutr 2010. Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2010.29355.
- Shai I, Schwarzfuchs D, Henkin Y, et al.Weight loss with a low-carbohydrate, mediterranean, or low-fat diet. N Engl J Med 2008;359:229–41.
- Shai I, Shahar DR, Vardi H, Fraser D. Selection of food items for inclusion in a newly developed food-frequency questionnaire. Public Health Nutr 2004;7:745–9