Mechanisms of Dairy Modulation of Adiposity
Michael B. Zemel
Journal of Nutrition
Dietary calcium plays a pivotal role in the regulation of energy metabolism, in that we have found high calcium diets to attenuate adipocyte lipid accretion and weight gain during periods of overconsumption of an energy-dense diet and to increase lipolysis and preserve thermogenesis during caloric restriction, thereby markedly accelerating weight loss. Our studies of the agouti gene in obesity and insulin resistance demonstrate a key role for intracellular Ca 2ϩ in regulating adipocyte lipid
... abolism and triglyceride storage, with increased intracellular Ca 2ϩ , resulting in stimulation of lipogenic gene expression and lipogenesis, and suppression of lipolysis, resulting in adipocyte lipid filling and increased adiposity. Moreover, we have recently demonstrated that the increased calcitriol produced in response to low calcium diets stimulates Ca 2ϩ influx in human adipocytes and thereby promotes adiposity. Accordingly, suppressing calcitriol levels by increasing dietary calcium is an attractive target for the prevention and management of obesity. In support of this concept, transgenic mice expressing the agouti gene specifically in adipocytes (a humanlike pattern) respond to low calcium diets with accelerated weight gain and fat accretion, whereas high calcium diets markedly inhibit lipogenesis, accelerate lipolysis, increase thermogenesis and suppress fat accretion and weight gain in animals maintained at identical caloric intakes. Further, low calcium diets impede body fat loss, whereas high calcium diets markedly accelerate fat loss in transgenic mice subjected to caloric restriction. Notably, dairy sources of calcium exert markedly greater effects in attenuating weight and fat gain and accelerating fat loss. This augmented effect of dairy vs. supplemental calcium is likely attributable to additional bioactive compounds in dairy that act synergistically with calcium to attenuate adiposity; among these are angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitory peptides, which limit angiotensin II production and thereby limit angiotensin II stimulation of adipocyte lipogenesis. These concepts are confirmed by both epidemiological and clinical data, which similarly demonstrate that dairy products exert a substantially greater effect on both fat loss and fat distribution compared to an equivalent amount of supplemental calcium. J. Nutr. 133: 252S-256S, 2003.