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July 30, 2010

Report: Calcium supplements may raise risk of heart attack and stroke

Topics: Health Issues

calcium-sources.jpgYou might want to take it easy on any calcium supplements you may be taking (as most people do who have had their Parathyroid removed). Besides the fact that you should be taking at least as much magnesium as you do calcium (a 1:1 ratio), along with vitamin D3 (Vitamin D3 is essential for the efficient utilization of calcium by the body), too much calcium is hazardous to your health. And now there's a report that calcium supplementation can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke:

"People regard calcium supplements as natural but they are really not natural at all," Ian Reid, professor of medicine at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, said in a telephone interview.

Reid and colleagues in Britain and the United States conducted a meta-analysis encompassing 11 studies that tracked nearly 12,000 elderly people over four years.

Half of them were given calcium supplements and the other half placebo or dummy pills with no therapeutic content. The results were published in the British Medical Journal.

"What we found was a 30 percent increase in heart attacks in the people who were randomized to take calcium," Reid said.

"If you have 1,000 people taking calcium for five years, we will expect to find 14 more heart attacks, 10 more strokes and 13 more deaths in the people given calcium than they would have had if they hadn't been treated with calcium," Reid said.

"That is 37 more adverse events and we expect 26 fractures being prevented. So calcium is associated with more bad things happening than with bad things prevented."

While experts are not certain about the biological mechanism by which calcium supplements may damage the body, studies in the past have linked high levels of blood calcium to more heart attacks and damage to blood vessels, Reid said.

Read more ...

The problem seems to stem from the fact that when you take calcium supplements, your blood calcium level goes up over the following four to six hours and goes up to the top end of the normal range. This doesn't seem to happen when you eat calcium-rich foods because it's more slowly absorbed.

This doesn't mean that you should stop taking your calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D supplements altogether, rather that, like everything else, moderation is the key.

Related reading:
Calcium & Magnesium
Calcium/Magnesium/Vitamin D
Vitamin D Supplementation in the Fight Against Multiple Sclerosis

Posted by Richard at July 30, 2010 8:37 AM



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