Calcium Supplements Are Safe For Heart Health
study published in the British Medical Journal in 2010 caused
considerable concern among doctors and postmenopausal women by saying
that taking calcium supplements could increase arterial plaque and
the risk of heart attacks. 1 Even
though numerous highly respected calcium researchers dismissed the
study, it caused considerable confusion among medical professionals,
with some doctors telling postmenopausal women to quit taking calcium
new study of 1,278 senior men and women published in the American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition that used advanced medical technology
found no link between calcium supplements and increased
cardiovascular risk. 2 In
fact, the study found what appeared to be a slightly reduced risk of
coronary artery calcification with increasing total calcium intake.
leader Elizabeth Samelson of Harvard and her team reported, "Our
prospective study in a large, community-based population of women and
men evaluated the relation between calcium intake, with an upper
range as high as 3,000 mg a day, on a specific measure of the
presence and severity of coronary atherosclerosis (i.e., coronary
artery calcification), which is an independent predictor of
used state-of-the-art CT measures of coronary artery calcification,
and we were able to take into account important factors in a study of
calcium intake and vascular calcification such as vitamin D intake,
prevalent coronary artery disease, and kidney function.
results do not support a significant detrimental effect of calcium
intake on coronary artery calcification.
supplementation is an important preventive measure that protects bone
density and reduces the risk of bone fracture for seniors.
North American Menopause Society recommends that women under 50 years
of age take at least 1,000 mg of supplemental calcium per day, while
they say that women 50 and over should take at least 1,200 mg of
supplemental calcium per day. In
fact, it's worth considering taking more than 1,200 mg of
supplemental calcium per day. Dr. Robert Heaney, who has published
over 200 calcium studies since 1958 said, "Supplemented
intakes of 1,300 to 1,700 mg per day have been shown to arrest
age-related bone loss and to reduce fracture risk in people 65 and
also said, "Supplemental
[calcium] intakes of 2,400 mg per day can restore the setting of the
parathyroid glands to young adult values." Improving
parathyroid function to young adult values can reduce the loss of
calcium from bone and bone loss, which reduces the risk of fractures.
National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine says that
long-term calcium supplementation for healthy adults is safe at 2,500
mg per day. They further state that the Lowest Observed Adverse
Effect Level (LOAEL) for calcium is 5,000 mg a day. The LOAEL is a
dose where toxicity might occur for some people when taken over a
period of time.
MJ, et al. Effect of calcium supplements on risk of myocardial
infarction and cardiovascular events: meta-analysis. BMJ. 2010 Jul
29;341:c3691. Doi: 10.1136/bmj.c3691
Samelson, et al. Calcium intake is not associated with increased
coronary artery calcification: the Framingham Study. Am J Clin
NutrDecember 2012, Volume 96, Pages 1274-1280,
RP. Calcium needs of the elderly to reduce fracture risk. J Am Coll
Nutr 2001 Apr;20(2 Suppl):192S-197S.
MooneyDirector of Research and Education