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Am J Med. 2002 Apr 1;112(5):343-7.

Effects of calcium supplementation on serum lipid concentrations in normal older women: a randomized controlled trial.

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Department of Medicine, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.



To determine the effect of supplementation with calcium citrate on circulating lipid concentrations in normal older women.


As part of a study of the effects of calcium supplementation on fractures, we randomly assigned 223 postmenopausal women (mean [+/- SD] age, 72 +/- 4 years), who were not receiving therapy for hyperlipidemia or osteoporosis, to receive calcium (1 g/d, n = 111) or placebo (n = 112) for 1 year. Fasting serum lipid concentrations, including high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, were obtained at baseline, and at 2, 6, and 12 months.


After 12 months, HDL cholesterol levels and the HDL cholesterol to LDL cholesterol ratio had increased more in the calcium group than in the placebo group (mean between-group differences in change from baseline: for HDL cholesterol, 0.09 mmol/L (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.02 to 0.17; P = 0.01); for HDL/LDL cholesterol ratio, 0.05 (95% CI: 0.02 to 0.08; P = 0.001). This was largely due to a 7% increase in HDL cholesterol levels in the calcium group, with a nonsignificant 6% decline in LDL cholesterol levels. There was no significant treatment effect on triglyceride level (P = 0.48).


Calcium citrate supplementation causes beneficial changes in circulating lipids in postmenopausal women. This suggests that a reappraisal of the indications for calcium supplementation is necessary, and that its cost effectiveness may have been underestimated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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