For IDEAL WEIGHT, calcium-magnesium chelate with zinc is a classic bariatric mineral remedy that helps reach and maintain an ideal weight. While generally considered to be key elements for maintaining bone density and strength, these minerals help to dissolve fat, are calming, and also support good sleep. This also helps weight loss, as anxiety and insomnia are linked with higher cortisol and resulting increased body mass. In addition, calcium is necessary for muscle contraction and healthy heartbeat, and thus it supports exercise; it is also needed for blood clotting and for many key enzymes. Very importantly for both men and women losing weight, these minerals are crucial for building bone density, and prevent any adverse effects of dieting on bone mass.1
Calcium has multiple additional effects on the body which aid in maintaining healthy weight. Calcium modulates the inflammatory response, and it can lower cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels. In a 1993 study, subjects with cholesterol levels in the high range of 240 to 260 reduced their total cholesterol by 6% when they took extra calcium each day. In addition, LDL–the bad cholesterol that is implicated in coronary artery and vascular disease and strokes–dropped by 11%.2
Several studies have shown that calcium plays a key role in losing fat, improving body composition, and keeping that fat and weight from coming back. Calcium works in several ways. A study in 2005 found that an increase in dietary calcium intake together with a normal protein intake, led to increased fecal fat excretion. This was the equivalent of burning about 350 calories of energy per day. Calcium was shown to assist body weight maintenance via improved fat metabolism. This particular study may help explain why a higher-calcium diet produces weight loss, and it suggests that an interaction with dietary protein level may also be important.3
In addition, calcium is a natural sleep aid, and it can ease insomnia. Because sleeplessness triggers more cortisol to be released from the adrenal glands which encourages weight gain, calcium’s benefit for sleep helps achieve an ideal weight.
Five clinical studies of calcium intake with a total sample size of 780 women ages 30 to 80 years of age were evaluated to explore associations between calcium intake and body weight. Relative to placebo, the subjects who consumed more calcium exhibited a significant weight loss across nearly 4 years of observation. Estimates of the relationship indicate that a daily 1000mg calcium intake is associated with a 17.6 lb. or 8 kg lower mean body weight over time.4
Another study looked at the effects of calcium supplements on obese adults who were dieting. The research found that a people consuming a high-calcium diet that provided 1200 to 1300mg per day resulted in significantly greater weight and fat loss in humans compared to a low-calcium diet with only 400 to 500mg per day.5 We generally recommend 900 to 1000 mg of calcium daily, in a chelate form, to prevent excess calcium deposition into arteries while providing enough to help achieve an ideal weight. Calcium is a nutrient of which we want just enough, not too little but also not a lot more than the body can use. The body cannot completely clear large amounts over 1500mg daily, so the excess may be deposited into connective tissues, blood vessel linings, tendons, ligaments, or breast tissue.
Magnesium, by the same token, is essential to maintain a healthy metabolic rate and allow the body to function more efficiently. Magnesium is critical in the process that releases energy within the mitochondria of every cell and tissue. Cells need robust magnesium levels to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a crucial molecule for energy transport, and to generate energy and keep the metabolism at a steady pace.
It is estimated that half of Americans do not get enough magnesium. It is likely that magnesium is a solution to many people’s frustrating health problems, including unexplained weight gain or difficulty keeping weight off. Maintaining healthy magnesium levels improves hormone balance and increases energy production to burn more calories. Magnesium is important to lower insulin resistance, so the body is better able to maintain optimal blood sugar levels in the bloodstream. A meta-analysis of fifteen trials found consistent results indicating that a higher magnesium intake was associated with lower fasting glucose and insulin.9
When it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, magnesium is an important tool for energy, blood sugar balance, helping with sleep, and thus it also helps to prevent cortisol spikes that cause weight gain.
Zinc is a trace mineral present in all cells and it is involved in numerous aspects of cellular metabolism. Zinc is required for the catalytic activity of approximately 100 enzymes which speed up the body’s biochemical reactions to a pace that sustains life. Zinc also has an important role in optimal insulin and hormone function. A daily intake of zinc is required to maintain a steady state because the body has no specialized zinc storage system. Because of its essential roles in enzyme function, blood sugar balance and hormone stability, zinc is required for maintaining an ideal weight.
In our clinic, a combination of calcium chelate, magnesium and zinc has been used by many patients as a cornerstone of their weight balance approach. Most people are aiming for a steady loss of 4 to 6 lbs. per month, and this is easier to achieve with ample intakes of these minerals.
Recommendation: Calcium chelate (such as citrate, aspartate, glycinate): 750 to 1000mg daily for women, 400 to 500mg daily for men. Magnesium chelate 375 to 400mg, Zinc chelate 10 to 20mg daily, or as directed by your healthcare provider.
- Bowen J, Noakes M, Clifton PM. A high dairy protein, high-calcium diet minimizes bone turnover in overweight adults during weight loss. J Nutr 2004; 134: 568-573.
- Denke MA, Fox MM, Schulte MC. Short-term dietary calcium fortification increases fecal saturated fat content and reduces serum lipids in men. J Nutr 1993; 123: 1047-1053.
- Jacobsen R, Lorenzen JK, Toubro S, Krog-Mikkelsen I, Astrup A. Effect of short-term high dietary calcium intake on 24-h energy expenditure, fat oxidation, and fecal fat excretion. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2005 Jan 18;
- Davies KM, Heaney RP, Recker RR, Lappe JM, Barger-Lux MJ, Rafferty K, Hinders S. Calcium intake and body weight. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2000; 85: 4635-4638.
- Zemel MB, Shi H, Greer B, Dirienzo D, Zemel PC. Regulation of adiposity by dietary calcium. FASEB J 2000; 14: 1132-1138.
- Melanson EL, Sharp TA, Schneider J, Donahoo WT, Grunwald GK, Hill JO. Relation between calcium intake and fat oxidation in adult humans. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2003; 27:196-203.
- Shapses SA, Heshka S, Heymsfield SB. Effect of calcium supplementation on weight and fat loss in women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Feb;89(2):632-7.
- Lelovics Z. Relation between calcium and magnesium intake and obesity. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2004;13(Suppl):S144.
- Hruby, Adela, et al. “Higher magnesium intake is associated with lower fasting glucose and insulin, with no evidence of interaction with select genetic loci, in a meta-analysis of 15 CHARGE Consortium Studies.” The Journal of nutrition 143.3 (2013): 345-353.