Effect of calcium supplementation on serum cholesterol and blood pressure. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial

Arch Fam Med. 2000 Jan;9(1):31-8; discussion 39. doi: 10.1001/archfami.9.1.31.


Objective: To test the effect of daily supplemental calcium on serum total and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels and blood pressure in adults.

Design: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial; adjunct study to a trial of calcium and colon cell proliferation in patients with sporadic adenoma.

Setting: Outpatient clinic.

Patients: A total of 193 men and women, aged 30 to 74 years.

Intervention: Treatment with 1.0 and 2.0 g/d of elemental calcium vs placebo over a 4-month period for cholesterol determinations and 6 months for blood pressure.

Main outcome measures: Serum total cholesterol and HDL-C levels, systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Results: Because there were no apparent differences in responses between the 1.0-g and 2.0-g calcium groups, their data were combined and compared with those of the placebo group. Among all participants, the mean total cholesterol level dropped 0.07 mmol/L (2.9 mg/dL) (1.3%) (P = .43) more, and the mean HDL-C level dropped 0.01 mmol/L (0.4 mg/dL) (1.1%) (P = .71) less in the calcium group than in the placebo group. Among participants without a history of hypercholesterolemia, the mean total cholesterol level dropped 0.18 mmol/L (6.8 mg/dL) (3.3%) (P = .10) and the HDL-C level dropped 0.02 mmol/L (0.6 mg/dL) (1.5%) (P = .61) more in the calcium group than in the placebo group. Among all participants, there was no apparent change in blood pressure until 6 months, when the mean systolic blood pressure dropped 0.8 mm Hg (0.6%) (P = .85) and the mean diastolic blood pressure dropped 0.4 mm Hg (0.5%) (P = .80) more in the calcium group than in the placebo group.

Conclusions: There were no substantial or statistically significant effects of calcium supplementation on total cholesterol or HDL-C levels or on blood pressure. There was a suggestion (not statistically significant) of a 0.07 to 0.18 mmol/L (3-7 mg/dL) or 2% to 4% drop in the total cholesterol level, a finding similar to that reported in other studies, which indicates the need for further study.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenomatous Polyps
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Calcium / administration & dosage
  • Calcium / therapeutic use*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Colonic Polyps / therapy
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Calcium