New Research: Calcium’s Effect on Cholesterol

This article was written in response to emerging research article, Canadian researchers discover surprising connection between calcium and cholesterol. The research, currently conducted by the University of Alberta and McGill University, looks at the potential connections between calcium and lipid control within cells.

A common thread found in studies that look at individual dietary components and their effect on overall health show an inverse relationship between dairy intake and cardiovascular disease risk.¹ There have been many hypotheses drawn as to what may be responsible for this, but research has been largely inconclusive. New research out of our local University of Alberta in partnership with McGill University gives us a new angle at a potential mechanism that is responsible for this phenomenon!

It all comes down to the effect that calcium has on fat and cholesterol at a cellular level. Increased levels of calcium seem to be responsible for redistributing cholesterol within cells, reducing overall cholesterol found in the blood. However, as of now there are no recommendations to supplement with additional calcium. Rather, I would recommend including 3 servings of dairy or fortified milk alternatives, which will not only keep your heart healthy, but also give you protein, vitamin D and calcium (of course)!

By Barbara Winzeler – Registered Nutritionist/Dietitian

Sources

Rice, B. 2014. Dairy and Cardiovascular Disease: A Review of Recent Observational Research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4006120/

 

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