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Originally published April 1 2013

Fat burning accelerated by calcium and vitamin D intake

by PF Louis

(NaturalNews) A Shanghai study entitled "Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation facilitated Fat loss in overweight and obese college students with very-low calcium consumption: a randomized controlled trial" was posted in Unbound Medline PubMed on January 8, 2013.

Keep in mind the phrase "very-low calcium consumption." This may be relatively common in China among young people. But in America, many nutritional experts think calcium is over-consumed, to the extent that supplementing calcium is considered unnecessary and possibly dangerous.

Dangerous because if there is too much calcium in the system, the bones cannot absorb it and it remains in the blood to accumulate and possibly calcify soft tissue that includes the inner arterial walls. This leads to arteriosclerosis and heart attacks. Of course, vitamin D helps absorb calcium into bones matter.

But many experts think the whole issue of calcium for bone health is distorted in the West. Tissue calcification potential and other adverse health conditions exist without silica, magnesium, and vitamin K2 to help get calcium out of the blood and into bone matter. Adding calcium supplements for building bone is usually overrated.

Some study details

There were 53 college students selected out of 129 applicants in Shanghai whose calcium intake was low to begin with. Though they were all overweight to mildly obese, they were all considered healthy. They all were without risk factors for coronary disease, not diabetic, and had normal blood pressures.

All 53 were put on diets with lower caloric values, minus 500 kcal/d (kilo-calories daily). Around half of them, 26, became the study's subject group and were placed on daily vitamin D3 and calcium supplements, while 27 without supplements were part of the control group.

All the participants exercised no more than 20 minutes three times daily to remove that dynamic as a factor for the study. None smoked and none were pregnant.

The diets were easy to monitor since most ate in the student canteen. But get this, the study group was supplemented with only 125 IU of D3 daily. Elemental calcium was supplemented at 600 mg daily. However, the low D3 dose did manage to increase the D3 serum levels sufficiently for this study.

After the 12 week study, 42 participants remained after dropouts and non-compliance dismissals. The resultant weight loss difference between the control and subject group was minimal. But the subject group did lose more visceral fat.

Visceral fat is what makes the belly bulge. It is internal and threatens health more than fleshy subcutaneous flabby fat. So that was significant for this study's purposes.

The study's background

The reason this study was performed is based on earlier observations that calcium intake inversely influenced body weight while higher serum levels of vitamin D were associated with lower body fat.

A similar previous study, Zemel's study of the genetic influences on obesity and insulin resistance from a low calcium diet, had determined that low calcium levels stimulate lipogenic gene expression and inhibit lipolysis, the breaking down of lipids and triglycerides into free fatty acids.

However, the Zemel study findings were conflicted with their vitamin D findings, confusing the results. The researchers suggested a threshold hypothesis. That better outcomes may come if a cutoff value of 500 to 600 mg of calcium was used.

The Shanghai study intentionally chose participants whose calcium levels were below the cutoff values suggested by the Zemel study and created better results that weren't contradictory.

Although vitamin D3 and calcium demonstrated some influence on eliminating fat in China, American refined carbohydrate and sugar consumption is probably higher. Those factors should be considered for obesity issues as well.

Sources for this article include:

Study summary

Study source

Complete study text from Unbound MEDLINE PubMed if you want to get technical

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