Calcium and vitamin D supplements seem to help postmenopausal women remain at a healthy weight, say researchers in the Archives of Internal Medicine. While the overall effect is small, the benefit is greater in those who had not previously been getting their daily recommended amount of calcium.
The study was run over seven years and involved 36,000 women. The women were split into two groups where half were assigned a dose of 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 400 international units of vitamin D per day, and the other half a placebo. At the end of the study, the women who took the supplements weighed an average of a quarter of a pound less than those who did not.
Among the women who were getting less than the recommended amount of calcium daily, those who took the supplements weighed an average of half a pound less than those who did not.
Other studies also suggest that calcium and vitamin D may play a role in effective weight management. The researchers speculate that these nutrients may stimulate the breakdown of fat cells and suppress the development of new ones.
"Because weight loss or prevention of weight gain is likely to have significant health benefits for middle-aged women, early to middle menopause may be a critical period of life in which to slow the trajectory of weight gain," the researchers concluded.
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Source: American Medical Association