Upping Vitamin D Levels Improves Lipid Profiles in Postmenopausal Women

Mar 14, 2014

Calcium and vitamin D supplementation can improve cholesterol levels in postmenopausal women, lowering the “bad” cholesterol and increasing the “good.”

Calcium and vitamin D supplements can improve cholesterol levels in postmenopausal women, according to a study that was published ahead-of-print in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society. 

Pertinent Points

- Calcium and vitamin D supplements
can improve 
cholesterol levels in postmenopausal women.

- When compared with placebo,
women taking the supplements were more than twice as likely to have vitamin D levels within the normal level recommended by the Institute of Medicine.

- The supplements showed benefit over placebo in both HDL and LDL cholesterol levels.

The study, led by Peter Schnatz, DO, looked at both how a calcium and vitamin D supplement changed cholesterol levels and how it affected blood levels of vitamin D in postmenopausal women.

The placebo-controlled study involved 600 women from the Women’s Health Initiative Cacium/Vitamin D (WHI CaD) trial, according to a news release issued by NAMS that announced the early results. Women were either given a supplement containing 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D3 or a placebo. The researchers’ analysis then looked at the relationship between taking supplements and levels of vitamin D and cholesterol in the 600 women.

Those who took the supplement were more than twice as likely to have vitamin D levels of at least 30 ng/mL (the normal level, according to the Institute of Medicine), as were the women who took the placebo. In addition, the researchers found low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels to be between 4 and 5 points lower among those taking the supplement compared with those taking placebo. Finally, the results indicated that among the supplement users, those with higher levels of vitamin D also had higher levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and lower levels of triglycerides.

The benefits of taking the supplements were especially strong among older women and those who had a low intake of vitamin D and calcium.

References:

Schnatz PF, Jiang X, Vila-Wright S, 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. 2014;doi:10.1097/GME.0000000000000188.