Calcium intake, body composition, and lipoprotein-lipid concentrations in adults

Mélanie Jacqmain, Eric Doucet, Jean-Pierre Després, Claude Bouchard, Angelo Tremblay
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2003, 77 (6): 1448-52

BACKGROUND: Recent data suggest that variations in calcium intake may influence lipid metabolism and body composition.

OBJECTIVE: The association between daily calcium intake and body composition and plasma lipoprotein-lipid concentrations was studied cross-sectionally in adults from phase 2 of the Québec Family Study.

DESIGN: Adults aged 20-65 y (235 men, 235 women) were studied. Subjects who consumed vitamin or mineral supplements were excluded. Subjects were divided into 3 groups on the basis of their daily calcium intake: groups A (< 600 mg), B (600-1000 mg), and C (> 1000 mg).

RESULTS: Daily calcium intake was negatively correlated with plasma LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and total:HDL cholesterol in women and men after adjustment for variations in body fat mass and waist circumference (P < 0.05). In women, a significantly greater ratio of total to HDL cholesterol (P < 0.05) was observed in group A than in group C after correction for body fat mass and waist circumference. In women, body weight, percentage body fat, fat mass, body mass index, waist circumference, and total abdominal adipose tissue area measured by computed tomography were significantly greater (P < 0.05) in group A than in groups B and C, even after adjustments for confounding variables. Comparable trends were observed in men, but not after adjustment for the same covariates.

CONCLUSION: A low daily calcium intake is associated with greater adiposity, particularly in women. In both sexes, a high calcium intake is associated with a plasma lipoprotein-lipid profile predictive of a lower risk of coronary heart disease risk compared with a low calcium intake.

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