Calcium, vitamin D have marginal effect on postmenopausal weight gain

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Women who take calcium and vitamin D supplements after menopause are less likely to gain weight than women who take a placebo, particularly women who have an inadequate intake of calcium in their diet, according to the results of a randomized trial published in the May 14 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Bette Caan, PhD, of Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, and colleagues analyzed annual body weight changes in 36,282 postmenopausal women, aged 50 to 79, who were involved in the Women's Health Initiative trial. The women were randomly assigned to take a daily placebo or 400 IU of cholecalciferol (vitamin D) and 1,000 mg of elemental calcium.

Women who took calcium and vitamin D experienced smaller weight gain over the 7-year study, and their mean weight was 0.13 kg lower than the placebo group. Women consuming less than 1,200 mg of calcium a day at baseline who took the supplements had an 11% lower risk of gaining 1 to 3 kg and 11% lower risk of gaining more than 3 kg after 3 years than those taking a placebo.

Caan B, Neuhouser M, Aragaki A, et al. Calcium plus vitamin D supple-mentation and the risk of postmenopausal weight gain. Arch Intern Med. 2007;167:893-902.

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