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Calcium Plus Vitamin D May Improve Cholesterol In Postmenopausal Women

Studies have shown that cholesterol levels often increase in women post-menopause, leading to an increased risk in heart disease. A recent study found that supplementation with calcium plus vitamin D may improve postmenopausal women’s cholesterol profiles.

Participants in the study included 300 white, 200 African-American, and 100 Hispanic women who took part in the Women’s Health Initiative CaD trial. Half of the group took 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D3 daily from 1993 to 1998 while the other half took a placebo.

The researchers found that there was a 38% increase in vitamin D blood levels after two years in the supplement group when compared with the placebo.

Women who took the supplements also had LDL cholesterol levels that were 4 and 5 points lower than those who took a placebo. Additionally, the women with the highest blood levels of vitamin D had higher HDL (good) cholesterol levels and lower levels of triglycerides.

Researchers from The Reading Hospital and Medical Center conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on March 3, 2014, in the journal Menopause.

Calcium is a mineral that is essential for bone strength. A lack of calcium can lead to osteoporosis, a serious health issue characterized by low bone mass which leads to an increased risk of fractures. Vitamin D aids in calcium break down and absorption. Several studies have also suggested that calcium and vitamin D may play a role in the regulation of abdominal fat mass.

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