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Eur J Nutr. 2013 Feb;52(1):297-305. doi: 10.1007/s00394-012-0336-2. Epub 2012 Mar 29.

Effect of dietary calcium (Ca) on body composition and Ca metabolism during growth in genetically obese (β) male rats.

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National Council for Scientific and Technologic Research, (CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina.



Obese β rats may be a suitable model to evaluate the association between calcium intake (CaI) and obesity during growth.


The present study comparatively evaluated Ca absorption and retention, and changes in body composition in spontaneously genetically obese (β) male rats fed three different dietary Ca levels: high 0.9% (HCa); normal: 0.5% (NCa); low: 0.2% (LCa).


Pregnant rats were fed isocaloric diets which varied in Ca content only. Male pups continued feeding the same maternal diet until postnatal day 60. The percentage of Apparent Ca absorption (CaA %), Ca balance (CaB), body composition, glucose, triglycerides (TGL), and insulin levels were evaluated.


Food consumption and body weight (BW) were higher in Group LCa than in Groups NCa and HCa (p < 0.01); no differences were observed between the latter two groups. Group LCa presented the highest body fat, liver weight, perigonadal and retroperitoneal fat (p < 0.05); conversely, body ashes and total skeleton bone mineral content were significantly lower compared with animals in both the NCa (p < 0.01) and HCa groups (p < 0.01). CaB (mg/day) reached a plateau at the highest CaI (mg/day) value (r = 0.985, p < 0.001). CaA%, serum glucose, insulin, and TGL levels rose as CaI decreased (p < 0.01).


Although further studies are required, low Ca consumption in this strain of rats could modulate BW inducing changes in several lipid metabolism parameters, which in turn lead to an increase in body fat.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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