Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.
December 2 2016. A meta-analysis published on November 18, 2016 in the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing concluded that supplementing with calcium with or without the addition of vitamin D was associated with a reduction in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and increased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. “Most (80%) lipid disorders can be treated with diet modification and exercise, and lifestyle interventions have been recommended as a primary intervention strategy among individuals with dyslipidemia,” write Chunlan Chen, BSN, RN, of Xuzhou Medical University and colleagues in their introduction to the article. “The potential role that dietary intake by nutritional supplements may have on lipid disorders, however, has not been well studied.”
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For their analysis, the researchers selected 22 randomized controlled trials that included a total of 4,071 participants who received a placebo or calcium with or without vitamin D. Studies were limited to those that provided information concerning changes in lipids following treatment.
On average, calcium supplementation lowered LDL cholesterol by 4.64 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) and raised HDL by 1.93 mg/dL. The results were found to be consistent across calcium supplementation duration and vitamin D supplementation status.
In their discussion of the findings, the authors note that low calcium diets can elevate circulating calcitrophic hormones that promote the influx of calcium ions into fat cells and increase lipid storage. Increasing calcium intake suppresses these hormones, resulting in a reduction in stored lipids.
“To our knowledge, this is the first meta-analysis of the effect of calcium supplements on lipid changes,” they announce. “Calcium supplementation has beneficial effect on blood lipids. Such supplements may be useful as a nonpharmaceutical strategy in cholesterol control.”