What is Calcium Carbonate?
It is commonly found in rocks such as limestone, marine organisms such as pearls an snails, and also in egg shells. Calcium carbonate is normally prescribed as a supplement for calcium deficiency which might cause bones to weaken, joint pain, etc. Now, calcium is also found to play a role in the metabolism of fat and is believed to cause weight loss.
Benefits of Calcium Carbonate for Weight Loss
Following are some benefits of calcium carbonate for weight loss:
- Induces thermogenesis
- Regulates fat metabolism
- Increases the breakdown of fats
- Increases the excretion of fats
- Increases the expenditure of energy
- Suppresses appetite
- Inhibits the activity of an enzyme (fatty acid synthase) which helps in the formation of fatty acids
How Does It Work?
The calcium which is stored in the fat cells regulates the breakdown of fat by the body; the higher the calcium in the cells, the higher the rate of fat breakdown. It also causes thermogenesis – increased production of heat by the body. As more heat is produced, more calories are burned by the body. Calcium also suppresses your appetite which helps in cutting down your calories from your daily food intake. This leads to weight loss.
Some other benefits of calcium include:
- Treatment for hyperparathyroidism
- Treatment for osteoporosis
- Reduction in symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Increasing strength of bones in fetuses
- Lower high cholesterol
- Prevention of tooth loss in old people
- Decrease risk of stroke
- Treatment for fluoride poisoning
- May prevent and treat colorectal cancer
In an animal study, mice were bred to be obese and then put on a calorie-restricted diet. Calcium supplements were given to two groups of the mice. Those who received calcium supplements lost 42% body fat while those that did not were only able to lose 8% of body fat.
A human study was performed on 32 obese people for a period of 24 weeks. The participants were divided into three groups: standard diet with 400-500mg of dietary calcium with a placebo supplement, high-calcium diet containing 800mg of calcium supplement and high dairy diet containing 1200 to 1300mg of dietary calcium with a placebo supplement. According to the results of the study, an increase in the dietary calcium led to increased loss of fat from the region of trunk and also contributed to overall weight loss. But a greater effect was observed in the group which was on a high dairy diet.
According to the US Office of Dietary Supplements, women and men should get 1 gm of calcium daily. This amount increases to 1.2gms after the age of 50 because bones start to get weaker and many women suffer from osteoporosis.
Calcium is normally safe to use either when taken through mouth or as an IV. Some minor side effects of calcium include:
A word of caution
If high doses of calcium are consumed, i.e. greater than the recommended dosage of 1gm, then serious side effects may occur such as:
- Increased risk of heart attack
- Interference with hypothyroid medication
- Cause disorders of the parathyroid glands
- Poor kidney function
Just be careful with your calcium dosage when you start on calcium supplements for weight loss. You may think that calcium is good for the bones and is required by the body but you can’t just take 2-3 gms of calcium and think to lose weight magically! It does not work like that. An excess of calcium can lead to serious health concerns as highlighted above. So never make this mistake.
Calcium is known to play a variety of roles in the human body – the most popular being strengthening bones, increasing bone mineral mass and muscle movement. But calcium is now becoming popular as an aid in weight loss. It is believed that a deficiency of calcium might lead to weight gain, while supplementing your diet with calcium can promote weight loss specially in the trunk region. Research has proven the role of calcium in weight loss, but you need to be careful and not exceed the recommended daily dose because an excess of calcium is also very problematic. It might make your existing medical condition worse, or put you at risk of other conditions such as heart attack and impaired function of the kidneys.