Effect of calcium intake on fat oxidation in adults: a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials

Obes Rev. 2012 Oct;13(10):848-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2012.01013.x. Epub 2012 Jun 19.


Calcium intake is likely to increase body fat loss during energy restriction. Part of this effect may be explained by increased fat oxidation in the presence of a similar energy balance, yet studies have not provided a conclusive answer. Therefore a meta-analysis was performed to determine whether chronic or acute high calcium intake increases fat oxidation. Randomized controlled trials of high calcium intake in human adults where measures of fat oxidation were taken were included. A random-effects meta-analysis was performed on outcomes expressed as standardized mean differences. Chronic high calcium intake increased fat oxidation by a standardized mean difference of 0.42 (95% confidence intervals: 0.14, 0.69; P= 0.003; estimated to correspond to an 11% increase), displaying low heterogeneity (I(2) = 18%), which was more prominent when habitual calcium intake was low (<700 mg d(-1) ). Acute high calcium intake increased fat oxidation by a standardized mean difference of 0.41 (0.04, 0.77; P = 0.03), with low heterogeneity (I(2) = 19%), yet sensitivity analysis revealed that this effect was relatively weak. In conclusion, chronic high calcium intake is likely to increase rates of fat oxidation. The effects of acute high calcium intake appear to point in the same direction, but further work is needed to permit a greater degree of certainty.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Body Composition / drug effects
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / administration & dosage
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / pharmacology*
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Calcium, Dietary / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Weight Loss / drug effects
  • Weight Loss / physiology


  • Bone Density Conservation Agents
  • Calcium, Dietary