What The Calcium Paradox Has To Do With Fat Burning

Updated: March 31, 2023

Lara Pizzorno is the author of “Your Bones: How You Can Prevent Osteoporosis and Have Strong Bones for Life – Naturally” and a member of the American Medical Writers Association with 29 years of experience specializing in bone health.

Recently we asked Lara if she would help us provide a series of short, ongoing videos to help you (our customers and readers) stay up to date on the latest facts and science related to bone health.

In this latest video, Lara explains what the calcium paradox means and what it has to do with fat burning. Watch the video below (or read the transcript provided) and let us know what you think in the comments. 🙂

Hello, I’m Lara Pizzorno the author of “Your Bones” and I’m here to share with you today some information with you that I hope will help you have healthier bones.

In our last video clip we talked about a number of studies that show that calcium can help us not only lose extra weight but specifically fat weight rather than muscle, and this is a beneficial effect of calcium that is now referred to in the medical literature as the “calcium paradox.” That’s the subject of this video.

The “Calcium Paradox” states that increased calcium or dairy intake increases fat oxidation or fat burning.

When calcium intake is too low, the level of calcium circulating in the blood decreases and this decrease in the blood concentration of calcium triggers the release of parathyroid hormone, which then stimulates calcium release from bone and the production in the kidneys from the circulating form of vitamin D in the blood (25OHD) – the most active, hormonal form of vitamin D which is written out as 125OH2D3. Receptors for this most active form of vitamin D are present on cells throughout our body, including our fat cells. The medical term for our fat cells is adipocytes as in adipose, meaning fat tissue. So calcium is brought into our fat cells and these adipocyte cells trigger significant changes in our metabolism.

The increase in calcium being delivered to our fat cells that occurs when blood levels of calcium are too low, also increases the activity of an enzyme called fatty acid synthase. Synthase stands for synthesis which in chemistry means the production of a substance of the joining of other compounds. And in this case, the substance that is used by the enzyme, fatty acid synthase is, you guessed it, fat. Not only does fatty acid synthase catalyze the production of fat, it also inhibits lipolysis which is the breakdown of fatty acids in the mitochondria, which are the energy production factories in our cells where fat gets delivered to produce energy.

So not having enough calcium on board both promotes alterations in fat cell metabolism but favor the production of more fat or lypogensis relative to its breakdown of lipolisis.

In 2007 yet another team of researchers Boon, Hal, Stegen and others who worked with them, published a paper in the International Journal of Obesity to share their finding that calcium supplementation at the rate of 1200 mg per day decreases the production of fatty acid synthase, promoting an action in the production of new fat or lipogenesis,

In our next video, I will share with you even more ways in which calcium helps us get our fat burning ‘bang’ for our exercise ‘buck.’ Thanks for tuning in!


Boon N, Hul GBJ, Stegen JHCH, et al.  An intervention study of the effects of calcium intake on faecal fat excretion, energy metabolism and adipose tissue mRNA expression of lipid-metabolism related proteins. Int J Obes (Lond). 2007 Nov;31(11):1704-12. Epub 2007 Jun 19. PMID: 17579637

Gonzalez J, Green B, Brown M.  Calcium Ingestion Suppresses Appetite and Produces Acute Overcompensation of Energy Intake Independent of Protein in Healthy Adults. J Nutr January 14, 2015

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  1. Lisa Miller

    March 11, 2024 , 7:34 am

    If not, please read this book. I don’t see vitamin K2 in your list of ingredients, and I’m convinced that that is an essential addition.

  2. Yoori AlgaeCal

    March 11, 2024 , 3:43 pm

    Thank you for sharing your book recommendation, Lisa! You are right that vitamin K2 is certainly important for our bones, as it helps with calcium absorption. While our basic AlgaeCal does not contain vitamin K2, our AlgaeCal Plus HERE contains 100 mcg of vitamin K2 per daily 4 capsules :). I hope this helps!

    – Yoori

This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, B.Phil.,(oxon.) - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,