Posted in: Health Studies

Men Who Take Calcium Supplements At Greater Risk For Heart Disease [Study]

Calcium supplements bottle

Men who ingest calcium supplements to fend off osteoporosis may be at greater risk for cardiovascular disease, according to a new study.

In the study, scientists affiliated with the National Cancer Institute and other research facilities assessed nearly 400,000 subjects ages 50 to 71 from 1995 to 1996 and then followed them up for 12 years.

According to Medical News Today, there was no linkage found between heart disease and calcium pill intake for women, but, for men, it was apparently quite a different story:

“The men on over 1,000 mg/day calcium supplementation had a 20% greater risk of total CVD death (including 19% higher heart disease and 14% higher cerebrovascular disease risk of death).”

The study was published in the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal.

In a separate article in the same journal, Swedish researcher Susanna C. Larsson, PhD, recommended including natural sources of calcium in the diet as a precaution while further studies are conducted on the possible health risks or benefits of calcium supplementation:

“Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and is crucial for the maintenance of strong bones and teeth. Furthermore, calcium is required for the body’s basic functions, such as nerve transmission, blood clotting, blood pressure, muscle contraction, enzyme activation, and hormone regulation …

“Meanwhile, a safe alternative to calcium supplements is to consume calcium-rich foods, such as low-fat dairy foods, beans, and green leafy vegetables, which contain not only calcium but also a cocktail of essential minerals and vitamins.”

Similarly, the authors of the calcium-heart disease study conclude that it may be premature to jump to definitive conclusions about the link between male cardiovascular health and calcium supplements:

“Our findings suggest that high intake of supplemental calcium is associated with an excess risk of CVD death in men but not in women. Additional studies are needed to investigate the effect of supplemental calcium use beyond bone health.”

Do you take calcium supplements?

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2 Responses to “Men Who Take Calcium Supplements At Greater Risk For Heart Disease [Study]”

  1. Natural Products Association

    The Natural Products Association (NPA) is the leading representative of the dietary supplement industry with over 1,900 members, including suppliers and retailers of vitamins and other dietary supplements. Dr. Cara Welch, senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, comments on a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine on the effects of taking calcium supplements:

    “It’s important for all age groups to maintain an adequate level of calcium as part of a healthy lifestyle. Dietary supplementation is both safe and effective for anyone who isn’t getting enough calcium from their diet. Calcium is an essential nutrient and the known benefits far outweigh the suggested detriments from this study.

    While this study includes a large population and a long follow-up time, it also has weaknesses in that it doesn’t capture all the pertinent information regarding duration of calcium supplementation or other nutrients. Additionally, the study did not find any increased risk for women taking calcium supplements so there are certainly more questions to answer before coming to a conclusion. We agree with the related commentary to this study that, in their words, ‘More large studies are needed to further assess the potential health risks or benefits of calcium supplement use.’.

    The Natural Products Association does not believe that this study should cause anyone to stop taking their calcium supplements. We have long recommended that you should discuss your calcium intake with your health care professional.”.

    For more information about the benefits of dietary supplements, visit http://www.NPAinfo.org/consumers.