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Calcium and Vitamin D Cut Postmenopausal Weight Gain

Women's risk of weight gain 11 percent lower with the supplements than with placebo

MONDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) -- Women who take calcium and vitamin D supplements after menopause are less likely to gain weight than women who take a placebo, particularly women who have an inadequate intake of calcium in their diet, according to the results of a randomized trial published in the May 14 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Bette Caan, Ph.D., of Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, and colleagues analyzed annual body weight changes in 36,282 postmenopausal women, aged 50 to 79, who were involved in the Women's Health Initiative trial. The women were randomly assigned to take a daily placebo or 400 International Units of cholecalciferol (vitamin D) and 1,000 milligrams of elemental calcium.

Women who took calcium and vitamin D experienced smaller weight gain over the seven-year study, and their mean weight was 0.13 kilograms lower than the placebo group. Women consuming less than 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day at baseline who took the supplements had an 11 percent lower risk of gaining 1 to 3 kilograms and 11 percent lower risk of gaining more than 3 kilograms after three years than those taking a placebo.

"Our findings do not alter current dietary recommendations. Postmenopausal women should continue to be advised to consume 1,200 mg/d of calcium as recommended by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences," the authors write.

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