Are Calcium Supplements Dangerous for Heart Health?
Calcium supplements are a popular way for many people to ensure they get enough of the essential mineral daily. While concerns have been raised in the past about the effects of excess calcium in the blood, two recent studies have now linked calcium supplements to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
The first study, carried out at the US National Cancer Institute, revealed that men who took a 1000mg calcium supplement faced an increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. The same risk did not apply to women taking the supplement. The study involved almost 400,000 people, aged 50-71, who had been followed for 12 years.
The researchers made the point that theirs was an observational study and so they could not make a definitive statement that taking the calcium supplements was what caused the increased risk of death from heart disease in men.
The second piece of research was carried out at Sweden’s Uppsala University and involved studying more than 61,000 women for an average of 19 years. The research, published online in the BMJ, concluded that a high intake of calcium was linked to a greater risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
Calcium is essential for good bone health and is also important for other functions such as blood clotting, helping our nerves send messages and for muscle contraction. As the body cannot produce calcium, we have to get this vital mineral from other sources, such as a balanced diet of food naturally high in calcium. Eating calcium-rich food is the preferred option for getting enough calcium but recently calcium supplements have become a popular way of ensuring you get the right daily intake.
For both men and women, the recommended daily intake of calcium is 1000mg. Women over the age of 50 should take in 1200mg while men over the age of 70 should do the same. As the two recent studies show, any higher concentration of calcium could prove risky to long-term health.