Effects of supplementation with a calcium-rich marine-derived multi-mineral supplement and short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides on serum lipids in postmenopausal women

Barbara E Cronin, Philip J Allsopp, Mary M Slevin, Pamela J Magee, M Barbara E Livingstone, J J Strain, Emeir M McSorley

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Recent literature suggests that Ca supplements have adverse effects on cardiovascular health. The effects of a Ca-rich supplement administered alone or in combination with short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides (scFOS) on serum lipids in postmenopausal women were examined using secondary data from a 24-month double-blind randomised controlled study. A total of 300 postmenopausal women were randomly assigned to daily supplements of 800 mg of Ca (2·4 g Aquamin) (Ca), 800 mg of Ca with 3 g of scFOS (CaFOS) or control (maltodextrin) (MD). A full lipid profile, body composition, blood pressure and a range of cytokines were measured at baseline and after 24 months. Intention-to-treat ANCOVA assessed treatment effects between the groups. A significant time-by-treatment effect was observed for LDL and total cholesterol for the Ca and CaFOS groups, with both groups having lower LDL and total cholesterol concentrations compared with MD after 24 months. The control group had mean (5·2 mmol/l) total cholesterol concentrations above the normal range (≤5 mmol/l) at 24 months, whereas values remained within the normal range in the treatment groups. There was no significant treatment effect on HDL-cholesterol, TAG, body composition, blood pressure or cytokine concentrations at 24 months, with the exception of IL-4, where there was a significant increase in the CaFOS group compared with the placebo. This study demonstrates a lipid-lowering effect of both the Ca-rich supplement alone and the supplement with scFOS. At the 4-year follow-up, there was no significant difference between the groups for reported diagnosed cardiovascular conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)658-665
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcium supplementation
  • Lipids
  • Postmenopausal women
  • Short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides

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