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Increased intakes of vitamin D and calcium may improve cholesterol levels

March 26, 2014

Regular intake of a combined vitamin D and calcium supplement may contribute to a healthy cholesterol profile in postmenopausal women, suggests a new US study.

The randomized controlled trial measured blood concentrations of vitamin D and calcium as well as levels of LDL and HDL cholesterol in 600 white, postmenopausal African-American and Hispanic women who took either a daily supplement containing 1000 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D3 or a placebo for 2 years (1). The study results showed that women who took the supplement were more than twice as likely to have vitamin D levels of at least 30 ng/mL (the desirable minimum blood vitamin D concentration according to the US Institute of Medicine) when compared to women who took the placebo. In addition, supplement users had significantly reduced low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglyceride levels as well as higher levels of high- density lipoprotein (HDL).

The researchers concluded that these findings should inspire even more women to be conscientious about their calcium and vitamin D supply. Whether the positive effects of supplemental calcium and vitamin D on cholesterol will translate into significant benefits for postmenopausal women, such as lower rates of cardio- vascular disease, remains to be seen.

References

  1. Schnatz P. F. et al. Calcium/vitamin D supplementation, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations, and cholesterol profiles in the Women's Health Initiative calcium/vitamin D randomized trial. Menopause. Published online March 2014.