Volume 14, Issue 9 p. 1132-1138
Research Communication
Free to Read

Regulation of adiposity by dietary calcium

Michael B. Zemel

Corresponding Author

Michael B. Zemel

Department of Nutrition, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, 37996–1900 USA

Correspondence: Department of Nutrition, The University of Tennessee, 1215 W. Cumberland Ave., Room 229, Knoxville, TN 37996–1900, USA. E-mail: [email protected]Search for more papers by this author
Hang Shi

Hang Shi

Department of Nutrition, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, 37996–1900 USA

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Betty Greer

Betty Greer

Department of Nutrition, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, 37996–1900 USA

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Douglas Dirienzo

Douglas Dirienzo

The National Dairy Council, Rosemont, Illinois, 60018–5616 USA

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Paula C. Zemel

Paula C. Zemel

Department of Nutrition, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, 37996–1900 USA

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First published: 01 June 2003
Citations: 657

ABSTRACT

Recent data from this laboratory demonstrate that increasing adipocyte intracellular Ca2+ results in a coordinated stimulation of lipogenesis and inhibition of lipolysis. We have also noted that increasing dietary calcium of obese patients for 1 year resulted in a 4.9 kg loss of body fat (P<0.01). Accordingly, we tested the possibility that calcitro-phic hormones may act on adipocytes to increase Ca2+ and lipid metabolism by measuring the effects of 1,25-(OH)2-D in primary cultures of human adipocytes, and found significant, sustained increases in intracellular Ca2+ and a corresponding marked inhibition of lipolysis (EC50 ~50 pM; P<0.001), suggesting that dietary calcium could reduce adipocyte mass by suppressing 1,25-(OH)2-D. To test this hypothesis, we placed transgenic mice expressing the agouti gene specifically in adipocytes on a low (0.4%) Ca/high fat/high sucrose diet either unsupplemented or with 25 or 50% of the protein replaced by non-fat dry milk or supplemented to 1.2% Ca with CaCO3 for 6 wk. Weight gain and fat pad mass were reduced by 26–39% by the three high calcium diets (P<0.001). The high calcium diets exerted a corresponding 51% inhibition of adipocyte fatty acid synthase expression and activity (P< 0.002) and stimulation of lipolysis by 3.4- to 5.2-fold (P< 0.015). This concept of calcium modulation of adiposity was further evaluated epi-demiologically in the NHANES III data set. After controlling for energy intake, relative risk of being in the highest quartile of body fat was set to 1.00 for the lowest quartile of Ca intake and was reduced to 0.75, 0.40, and 0.16 for the second, third, and fourth quartiles, respectively, of calcium intake for women (n=380;P≪ 0.0009); a similar inverse relationship was also noted in men (n=7114; P<0.0006). Thus, increasing dietary calcium suppresses adipocyte in-tracellular Ca2+ and thereby modulates energy metabolism and attenuates obesity risk.—Zemel, M. B., Shi, H., Greer, B., DiRienzo, D., Zemel, P. C. Regulation of adiposity by dietary calcium. FASEB J. 14, 1132–1138 (2000)