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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Further studies prove this mineral may prevent weight gain

Calcium not only keeps our bones strong, but also it appears to fight middle-aged spread, according to a new study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Women in their 50s who took more than 500 milligrams of calcium supplements daily gained 4 pounds less over 10 years than women who didn't use supplements, reports Reuters.

Don't get too excited and start popping calcium tablets. Lead study author Dr. Alejandro J. Gonzalez says more research and randomized clinical trials are needed before calcium can be recommended as a weight maintenance tool. Still, there is evidence that calcium can help you stay slimmer even if it's not yet conclusive. Specifically, when there is a low calcium intake, the amount of calcium contained inside the body's cells is actually boosted. That turns on certain genes that are involved in fat formation, while at the same time suppressing the breakdown of fat.

To find out what role calcium played in weight maintenance, the Seattle team analyzed weight gain and calcium intake in 10,591 men and women ages 53 to 57 over eight to 12 years. They found that while calcium had no relationship in weight gain or loss for men, it did have an effect for women. Specifically, women who consumed more than 500 milligrams of calcium supplements daily gained 11.2 pounds over 10 years, compared with 15.2 pounds for those who didn't take supplements.

"Although more evidence from randomized clinical trials is needed before calcium supplements can be recommended specifically for weight loss, this study suggests that calcium supplements taken for other reasons (e.g., prevention of osteoporosis) may have a small beneficial influence on reducing weight gain, particularly among women approaching midlife," Gonzalez wrote in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

-----from the editors at Netscape

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