The latest research on Calcium: the facts

We’ve all been thinking about it – does Calcium Supplementation lead to increased heart risk? It’s been all over the news that recent research by Auckland researchers (Bolland et al., 2010) suggested that Calcium supplements is associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction.

Now let’s break that study down.

• Yes, you should always be making informed decisions and we should go to your general practitioner and follow the appropriate guidelines
• Vitamin D was excluded from the study and Vitamin D is an important part of regulating calcium and phosphorus levels

• The study didn’t talk about cofactors that are critical in assessing the risk of cardiovascular events like trials, pre-existing medical condition, age groups
• Findings from other studies NOT designed to address cardiovascular disease and stroke risks were misinterpreted. And this misinterpretation may overshadow the benefits of dietary calcium
• The study was generalised and results were inconclusive.

Does anything say that calcium is good for you? Well actually, there have been studies in the past that have showed either no increase or a decreased risk of cardiovascular risk with calcium supplementation and you should definitely take a look at these results:

• The Women’s Health Initiative Study followed 36 282 postmenopausal women over 7 years and concluded that “calcium and vitamin D supplementation did not increase the risk of myocardial infarction, CHD death, stroke, coronary revascularisation, hospitalised angina, heart failure or transient ischemic attack.”
• Another study with a higher dose of calcium supplementation (1400-1500mg/d) showed that there w
as no excess occurrence of myocardial infarction even with a higher calcium supplement does. Instead the calcium treatment group had a lower incidence of vascular events compared to the placebo group.

For everyone who isn’t into the jargon, the most important thing that you need to know is that.

• The recent study did
not provide conclusive evidence that calcium has adverse effects on cardiovascular events.
• More research needs to be done and that study needs to include important physiological and lifestyle factors when thinking about CVD and stroke.

Evidence has shown the health benefits of calcium and vitamin D supplementation in preventing osteoporosis and building stronger bones.
As with everything though, if you have hyperparathyroidism, chronic kidney disease, or hypocalcaemia, then you should consult your doctor before taking calcium.

Make sure your take part in a healthy, balanced lifestyle with the right foods, exercise and rest. Talk t
o your GP and ask if you have any questions because your health is important.

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