Calcium Supplement: Health Claims Under Fire
In a combined analysis of 5 studies, investigators found that calcium supplements were associated with about a 30% increase in the incidence of heart attack.
That’s why it’s important to keep current on the latest research. Things change as our research capabilities progress. Here are the details: The risk of heart attack with calcium supplements was greater in those with higher dietary calcium intake. Age, sex, and type of supplement made no difference. But, in this study, 88% were women, this being significant because heart disease differs greatly between sexes.
It’s suggested that the calcium in supplements may cause the fatty plaques in your arteries to harden, causing atherosclerosis. And although much data shows that vitamin D is protective from a cardiovascular standpoint, studies with vitamin D were omitted.
- In most cases, discontinuation of calcium would seem appropriate
- For most older people, the risks of calcium supplements outweigh the benefits
- For patients at risk for heart disease, with multiple risk factors, or a strong family history, perhaps calcium supplementation should not be considered
- Patients with osteoporosis should generally not be treated with calcium supplements, either alone or combined with vitamin D, unless they are also receiving an effective treatment for osteoporosis for a recognized indication
- Patients with high risk for fractures will continue to take calcium supplements