Calcium alone does a lot for the body. It builds and maintains bones and teeth; regulates heart rhythm; supports normal sleep patterns; helps regulate the passage of nutrients in and out of the cell walls; assists in normal blood clotting; helps maintain proper nerve and muscle function; supports normal blood pressure as well as normal blood cholesterol levels. A deficiency in calcium, on the other hand, may result in arm and leg muscle spasms, softening of bones, back and leg cramps, brittle bones, rickets, poor growth, osteoporosis (a deterioration of the bones) and/or tooth decay.
Vitamin D alone also has a positive impact on health. Vitamin D supports immune system, pancreas, heart, blood, cellular, muscle, bone and bone marrow, breast, colon, intestine, kidney, lung, prostate, retina, skin, stomach, uterine and brain health—and can positively impact 36 bodily organs.
Put them together, though, and it’s good news for those of us who are intentional about getting enough calcium and vitamin D in our diets. Not only do we get to enjoy the numerous benefits of this dynamic duo—including strong bones and teeth—but it appears that adequate levels of dietary calcium and vitamin D may also help control weight.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is among the studies indicating the weight benefits of calcium and vitamin D. It says that higher dietary calcium intake and increased serum vitamin D are related to greater diet-induced weight loss. Here’s what happened: The researchers found that adults who drank the most milk (about 2 glasses a day) and had the highest vitamin D levels at 6 months, lost more weight after 2 years than those who had little or no milk or milk products—nearly 12 pounds of weight loss, on average. (Please note: Jordan believes the healthiest dairy is grassfed, raw dairy from the best and healthiest dairy cattle possible. If raw dairy isn’t available, then organic, pasteurized, non-homogenized, full-fat, cultured dairy from cows, sheep, and goats is the way to go.)
But that’s not the end of the story on this study. Researchers also found that each additional 6-ounce serving of milk or milk products (about 3/4 of a glass of milk) was associated with 10 pounds of successful weight loss above the average, at 6 months. What’s more is that the researchers also discovered that vitamin D levels alone affected weight loss success—and milk and milk products were the top contributors to vitamin D in the diets.
Got milk, anyone?
Not a fan of milk, but still interested in calcium and vitamin D weight benefits? In a separate study, results indicated that taking calcium and vitamin D supplements may help overweight women lose weight and body fat—but only for those women whose calcium levels from food was already low. Over a period of 15 weeks, women whose dietary calcium levels were low took the calcium and vitamin D supplements and lost an average of 13 pounds—compared to a loss of 3 pounds in the control group.
The results were published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Senior researcher Dr. Angelo Tremblay, of Laval University in Quebec, Canada, says, “Our hypothesis is that the brain can detect the lack of calcium and seeks to compensate by spurring food intake, which obviously works against the goals of any weight loss program. Sufficient calcium intake seems to stifle the desire to eat more.” More studies need to be done, however, to confirm this, agree the scientists.
In the meantime, there seems to be a connection between calcium and vitamin D and weight loss. One reason may be that calcium and vitamin D help to properly assimilate food and to regulate normal blood sugar levels. When there is a calcium deficit, however, the body increases its production of synthase, a fatty acid enzyme that converts calories into fat. In some instances, calcium deficiency can increase synthase production by up to 500%.
No matter what the future findings, you’ll want to be sure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D. There are just too many benefits for you to pass them up.