Calcium supplements may increase heart attack risk
Washington, D.C., United States (4E) – Taking a calcium supplement to prevent bones from thinning may up a person’s risk for heart attack, according to a report published Thursday.
Some 24,000 people between the ages of 35 and 64 participated in the study. Among findings, those who took regular calcium supplements were 86 percent more likely to have a heart attack than those who didn’t take supplements. Those who took only calcium supplements were twice as likely to suffer a heart attack as those who didn’t take any vitamin supplement.
Previous studies, the National Institutes of Health reports, have linked calcium supplements to kidney stones and bloating.
The study authors wrote in the journal Heart, “calcium supplements have been widely embraced by doctors and the public on the grounds that they are a natural and therefore safe way of preventing osteoporatic fractures. We should return to seeing calcium [in food sources] as an important component of a balanced diet.”
The main reason the study was conducted was to determine if calcium supplements modify cardiovascular risk factors.
The researchers, over the course of the 11-year study, found no direct link between supplements and heart attacks, nor did they identify brands of supplements.
The study did not look directly at what caused the heart attacks, but the researchers noted that “supplements cause calcium levels to soar above the normal range, and it is this flooding effect which might ultimately be harmful.”
Treatments used to prevent bone thinning in postmenopausal women have been hotly debated lately as several osteoporosis drugs have come under fire for some serious side effects.
Many healthcare experts recommend getting calcium from food sources such as milk, yogurt and fortified orange juice and cereals.
The findings have more doctors advising patients to get meet their calcium needs through diet alone.