Some people are so sensitive to calcium supplements, that they complain to their doctors the calcium supplements are raising their blood pressure. What supplements could post-menopausal women safely take? Since new studies have been published that say you can get enough calcium from food without supplements, if you don't have a deficiency, the question comes up whether your calcium supplements are raising your blood pressure, being excreted as tartar at the gumline of your two lower teeth, or calcifying your blood stream and arteries, especially if you're not getting enough vitamin K-2, which some people can't take if they're taking blood thinners or have certain blood-related issues.
The answser to what is best for you depends on your individual responses to any mineral, vitamin, or other supplements, any medications, and to foods and juices. Which is worse for postmenopausal women--too much calcium or too much vitamin D? And if you're taking vitamin D, which is healthier, vitamin D2 or the fish-oil derived vitamin D3?
One study on calcium doesn't even mention magnesium. Another looks at high levels of calcium in the blood stream from supplements. You also might check out books such as The Magnesium Solution for Migraine Headaches. And see the article based on another study, Effects Of Vitamin D Deficiency Amplified By Shortage Of Estrogen. Then see the book, The Calcium Lie. Also see the book, Calcification: The Aging Factor: How To Defuse The Calcium Bomb, by Mark Mayer. What do you do if you keep taking calcium, but your bone density continues to decrease?
Why aren't more studies looking at the health effects of magnesium and vitamin K-2 instead of calcium and vitamin D3 for postmenopausal women? For example, magnesium, not calcium alone or with added vitamin D3 is sometimes recommended for migraines. If the latest studies make you curious, more research is recommended by the experts.
At the University of California, Davis, Naziyath Vijayan MD, performs diagnosis and treatment for patients suffering from chronic headaches. For more than 20 years, he has conducted research into the causes and treatments of migraine, cluster and tension headaches. Vijayan also has written extensively about headache symptoms, causes and treatments. He is involved in clinical research and trials of new headache drugs. See the website, UC Davis Department of Neurology Faculty | Naziyath Vijayan, M.D.
Can Calcium and Vitamin D Increase Your Risk of Heart Attacks and Strokes? New Study Looks At Postmenopausal Women
Apparently, a new study released today, April 20, 2011 and a report on this latest study appearing in the April 20 article published in Medical News today, "Calcium Supplements Appear To Raise Heart Attack And Cardiovascular Event Risk," notes that, calcium supplements may raise the risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular risks.
See the article, Calcium Supplements Appear To Raise Heart Attack And Cardiovascular Event Risks. Calcium supplements, which are often prescribed to postmenopausal women, appear to raise the risk of cardiovascular events, especially heart attacks in older females, report researchers from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, revealed in the BMJ (British Medical Journal).
- Older women take calcium supplements to maintain good bone health - the authors suggest that doctors should consider reassessing their use. See the abstract in the BMJ, Calcium supplements with or without vitamin D and risk of cardiovascular events.
In this paper, "Calcium supplements with or without vitamin D and risk of cardiovascular events," Bolland and colleagues updated their recent meta-analysis of calcium supplements and cardiovascular risk to include calcium supplements given with vitamin D.
They found that calcium supplements with or without vitamin D modestly increase the risk of cardiovascular events, especially myocardial infarction (heart attack), a finding obscured in a previous study by the widespread use of personal calcium supplements. Check out an accompanying editorial, regarding the study, by professors Bo Abrahamsen and Opinder Sahota.
Ask yourself, does the vitamin D or the calcium increase the risk of heart attack in postmenopausal women? Postmenopausal women are sometimes prescribed vitamin D combined with calcium supplements. The authors explain that nobody has yet known whether the impact on the heart is just with calcium supplements, or together with vitamin D.
In the Women's Health Initiative, or WHI study, no evidence of cardiovascular effects were linked to taking combined calcium and vitamin D supplements. However, most of the females had already been taking personal calcium supplements, which may have compromised the findings.
In the current study, Professor Ian Reid and team re-examined the WHI data to see whether they could predict cardiovascular event risk according to calcium supplement intake, with or without vitamin D. The study reported that those prescribed combination calcium and vitamin D supplements had a higher risk of having a cardiovascular event, especially a heart attack. However, they found no association between combined calcium and vitamin D supplements and cardiovascular event risk among the women who had been taking personal calcium supplements when the trial began.
What does this look like to you? The researchers believe that "the sudden change in blood calcium levels, which occurs when patients start taking the supplement, causes the adverse effects, and not the amount of calcium being consumed." People with high blood calcium levels tend to have a higher risk of hardening (calcification) of the arteries.
So, if you have a high blood calcium level, your LDL, for example, would you have a higher risk of calcification of the arteries from calcium supplements, vitamin D supplements, or both? Or would you also have a higher risk of calcification of your arteries just from eating foods containing calcium as well? Researchers examined 13 more trials involving 29,000 women and found a link between stroke and heart attack risk and taking calcium supplements, with or without vitamin D.
The only problem is that Professors Bo Abrahamsen and Opinder Sahota say that, according to available evidence, it is not yet possible to confirm or deny a link between calcium supplements and cardiovascular event risk.
What do you think, do calcium supplements with vitamin D cause or not cause adverse heart-related issues? The study is limited. So no one can say for sure, again, and more studies are needed. And so the studies continue.
You have a modest increase in heart attack or stroke risk. But you can't conclude that calcium supplements with vitamin D cause heart attacks and strokes. All you can say is that in this one study, researchers saw an increased risk.
What scientists need to do is to find out what effects calcium supplements really have on heart health. First you need to find out for you as an individual whether the risk outweighs the benefits of calcium and vitamin D supplements. Doctors usually tell menopausal women to take calcium and vitamin D to prevent bone loss.
Yet there are doctors who tell women not to take calcium. Read the book by an obstetrician, Robert Thompson, M.D. and author, Kathleen Barnes, The Calcium Lie. Remember that calcium hardens concrete. Also, table salt is called a health destroyer, according to the book, The Calcium Lie: What Your Doctor Doesn't Know Could Kill You.
That book points out that the salt that went on people's tables beginning in the early 20th century containing only sodium and chloride is not the same as the rock or sea salt used historically which contained "the other 76 minerals" present in rock salt or sea salt.
All over the world, goiter appeared due to iodine deficiency. Then the addition of iodized salt put back some of that mineral, but left out the rest of the minerals.
Some companies process table salt with aluminum. According to the book, The Calcium Lie, you also should not take colloidal minerals. The Calcium Lie also explains that colloidal silver, for example, over time, accumulates permanently between your cells.
Colloidal forms of minerals get into your skin, in that area between the cells. Your body can't excrete colloidal minerals, and the minerals build up too much.
Minerals in excess are dangerous. Instead, you need sea salt-derived ionic multiple minerals. What happens when the larger moleclules of colloidal silver or other colloidal-derived minerals get between the cells in back of your eyes, in your retina or in your organs and stay there? Check out my other Examiner.com article, Why are table salt and MSG called health destroyers? - Sacramento Nutrition | Examiner.com.
What Really Happens When You Take Calcium with Vitamin D?
Why aren't scientists ever mentioning what happens when you take magnesium supplements? For example, 360 mg for women and 420 mg for men of magnesium, such as magnesium citrate, if the brand you select has a low enough level of mercury or lead to meet California's minimum requirements for supplements. How about getting your minerals from foods?
What doctors in the latest study also may be saying that is if your physician tells you to take calcium and vitamin D you shouldn't stop taking them, but instead to discuss your worries with your doctor. That may be because the study needs continuing research to find out what's really happening.
Unfortunately for this study, no one is mentioning the benefits of taking magnesium in small amounts and getting your calcium from a balanced diet of foods. See the latest article or abstract on the study, "Calcium supplements with or without vitamin D and risk of cardiovascular events: reanalysis of the Women's Health Initiative limited access dataset and meta-analysis", by Mark J Bolland, Andrew Grey, Alison Avenell, Greg D Gamble, Ian R Reid. The study appears in BMJ 2011; 342:d2040 doi: 10.1136/bmj.d2040.
Can vitamin D alone be tied to heart disease if you have a particular variant of genes?
Can vitamin D in excess possibly be tied to heart disease if you have specific types of genes? Why are so many Sacramento consumers rushing to wolf down higher and higher doses of vitamin D3 supplements without knowing whether they are deficient?
And why is there so much about vitamin D in the media these days? There are blood tests to determine whether you need extra vitamin D. And if you do, how do you know whether you have the genetic variant that processes vitamin D differently than most people?
Are there some people who shouldn't be taking supplements containing vitamin D and just get what they need of the vitamin from healthy foods? According to a December 3, 2009 article in HealthDay Daily News, "Vitamin D May Be Tied to Heart Disease Via Genes," if you have a specific gene variant that reduces vitamin D activation in the body and high blood pressure, according to a new study, you were found to be twice as likely as those without the variant to have congestive heart failure as well as the high blood pressure, the study found.
Also see the Dec 3, 2009 UPI article: Heart failure linked to vitamin D gene, (U.S. researchers linked congestive heart failure to a gene variant affecting vitamin D activation.) What does this study mean for consumers of vitamin supplements?
The purpose of the study is to hopefully identify people at increased risk for heart disease, according to Robert U. Simpson, an assistant professor of pharmacology at the University of Michigan Medical School and his research colleagues, as reported by HealthDay Daily News.
The University of Michigan Medical School researchers analyzed the genetic profiles of 617 people. One-third had hypertension, one-third had hypertension and congestive heart failure, and the remaining third served as healthy controls.
Scientists found that a variant in the CYP27B1 gene was associated with congestive heart failure in people with hypertension. The study is in the November 2009 issue of the journal, Pharmacogenomics.
Previous research showed that mutations that inactivate the gene reduce the conversion of vitamin D into an active hormone. "This study is the first indication of a genetic link between vitamin D action and heart disease," Simpson noted in a news release from the University of Michigan.
"If subsequent studies confirm this finding and demonstrate a mechanism, this means that, in the future, we may be able to screen earlier for those most vulnerable and slow the progress of the disease," he added, according to the news release.
When consumers examine this study, the main question arises as to whether someone with the gene mutation should or should not take supplements of vitamin D. For example, would the vitamin D from vitamin pills quicken the path towards congestive heart failure in a person with high blood pressure and the gene mutation, or would extra vitamin D be beneficial and slow down the decline?
Does the gene variant that inactivates the gene prevent vitamin D from dietary sources from being converted into an active hormone? Or is more vitamin D needed? Does the gene mutation cause vitamin D to calcify the aorta or not? What should persons with the gene mutation and high blood pressure eat--more or less vitamin D either in supplements or dietary means? That's the question consumers would like to know when they read the study. The natural form of vitamin D is vitamin D3.
What are the risks of taking vitamin D supplements? Do you have that specific gene mutation?
Do you have the gene mutation? Did anyone in your family have it? Could you find out whether you've inherited that specific gene mutation? What are some of the risks of taking too much vitaminD? Where can you go to find out whether you have the gene mutation, assuming you also have high blood pressure and a family history of hypertension and congestive heart failure. Those are health questions consumers would like to have answered.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins are reporting what is believed to be the first conclusive evidence in men that the long-term ill effects of vitamin D deficiency are amplified by lower levels of the key sex hormone estrogen, but not testosterone, according to a Nov.17th, 2009 news article, "Effects Of Vitamin D Deficiency Amplified By Shortage Of Estrogen."
In a recent national study of men presented on Nov. 15 at the American Heart Association's (AHA) annual Scientific Sessions in Orlando, FL, researchers reported that the new findings build on previous studies showing that deficiencies in vitamin D and low levels of estrogen, found naturally in differing amounts in men and women, were independent risk factors for hardened, narrowed arteries and weakened bones.
What does vitamin D actually do? It plays an important role in calcium balance so you get normal bone strength. The major function of vitamin D is to improve the efficiency of calcium absorption from the small intestine, according to Dr. Ray Sahelian's newsletter and nutrition information sites. Can taking too much vitamin D calcify your aorta? What are the risks? And do you have to inherit a specific gene variation for vitamin D to calify your coronary arteries? What does the research show?
What happens to the way your body handles, absorbs, or builds up vitamin D after menopause when the estrogen level plummets? And were you born with or without the gene variation that takes the vitamin D3 you eat along with the calcium and calcifies your arteries with it instead of putting it into your bones where it belongs? How do you find a genetics/DNA test to tell you whether you have inherited that genetic mutation or variation?
Epidemiological data show low levels of vitamin D lead to a higher incidence of breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, as well as multiple myeloma, according to Dr.Sahelian's site. Patients with Crohn's disease are known to have low levels. Vitamin D supplementation may even improve mood during the winter months, according to Dr. Sahelian. But you'd be better off taking less than more until you know how much you'll really need of vitamin D.
Scientists repeatedly warn vitamin consumers of the danger regarding excessive intake: Vitamin D taken in high amounts can cause excessive calcification of bone, calcification of soft tissue, kidney stones, headaches, weakness, nausea, and vomiting
There answer right now is that no one knows exactly the long-term effects of high dose daily use of vitamin D. Find out whether or not you need to supplement at all. Research is ongoing. In the meantime, are you taking a teaspoon full of cod liver oil that already has 400 units of vitamin D in it along with some vitamin A? Look at the label and see whether it tell you the vitamin content of the oil. How do you compare the different answers given by your various heath care professionals?
When you take all those vitamin D3 supplements that are recommended in so many articles in the media, how do you know whether your body will use it to protect your organs against bone loss or use it to send calcium deposits into your organs, heart valves, and arteries?
Find out from your doctor whether or not your blood test tell you that you may or may not need to supplement. Does your diet have plenty of vitamin D? Do you get enough sun exposure?
Most people may benefit from taking 400 units a day either as part of a multivitamin product and a balanced diet. A few people without much sun exposure and a poorer diet, or if you live in latitudes where there's not much sun, might benefit from 600-800 units of vitamin D3.
The only questions scientists have is that over a long term, we don't know what the risks are
Your doctor should talk with you if you have chronic medical conditions whether you need up to 1,000 units daily. But the question is for how long without posing a risk of calcifying your arteries from too high a dose for too long a time of taking supplements of vitamin D.
When you do take a supplement, be sure it's natural vitamin D3, not synthetic vitamin D2. The conclusion is the final word is not yet in on the danger of calcifying your brain and arteries with too much vitamin D supplementation.
Why take the risk when you can keep your supplementation, if any, to a dose related to what your body needs. You can find out what vitamin deficiencies you have by taking a test to see what's actually absorbed into your cells and what's just floating in your bloodstream.
What needs to be evaluated right now is whether other genes that control calcium homeostasis are involved in the pathogenesis of this disorder. In plain language, how many gene variations control the way calcium and vitamin D3 are processed in your own body? And how can you find out? Are there genetic tests that show you how your body handles vitamin D3?
The media is full of articles saying that the 400 mg of vitamin D3 is too little to protect you against cardiovascular problems, that you probably need 1,000 mg. But what happens if you have a genetic variation or mutation that communicates to your body in a different way, where when you take vitamin D3 and calcium in supplements or at high food intakes, that the calcium doesn’t go into your bones, but into the arteries and valves around your heart?
Will vitamin K2 in the MK-7 form protect you from calcification if you have this genetic variation? And where can you find out if it will? All these answers require scientific studies, namely, research. And you need to find out whether your health condition requires or forbids taking any vitamin K supplements, since people on blood thinners aren't given supplements of vitamin K2, since vitamin K2 can do the opposite of what the blood thinners do.
Another article at BioMed Experts, Osteoporosis and calcification of the aorta, Bone and Mineral, 1992;19(2):185-94,1992: Frye M A; Melton L J; Bryant S C; Fitzpatrick L A; Wahner H W; Schwartz R S; Riggs B L, notes, “Aortic calcification was not associated with any measures of calcium metabolism, after adjusting for age, except for a slight negative association between linear aortic calcifications and 25(OH) vitamin D levels (P < 0.05).”
Another abstract of a 2003 article, "Influence of sex and estrogen on vitamin D-induced arterial calcification in rats" notes, "It is known that the process of arteriosclerosis is affected by sex and estrogen. The present study was thus undertaken to examine the effects of these factors on arterial calcification, a form of arteriosclerosis, using a rat model of vitamin D toxicity.
The article concludes with, “These results suggest that sex and estrogen can modify the process of arterial calcification. The mechanisms remain to be determined, although the effects were independent of serum calcium level.”
Will taking vitamin K2 in the MK-7 form help you if you have this gene variation whereby taking too much vitamin D starts to calcify your aorta? Or not? Only science can tell you for sure, and the science needs to be tailored to your individual genes. Is science ready yet? Have they developed a test? Or does science still not know yet how many genes need to be tested to see how your body handles vitamin D3 and calcium?
You hear all the talk about increasing your daily natural vitamin D3 intake from 400 mg to at least 1,000 mg to prevent arterial calcification, bone loss, and certain diseases. The media says so many diseases could be due to too low vitamin D3 intake. But what happens if you have a certain gene variation that instead causes vitamin D3 to calcify your aortic valves?
There is some early research that high amounts of vitamin D, such as 2,000 iu, taken daily for many months or years may lead to calcification of arteries, according to Dr. Ray Sahelian's newsletter. How do you know what to take?
Until more studies are published we prefer to be cautious and have people only take one or two vitamin D 400 iu a day. Some doctors are recommending daily dosages of 1000 units or higher. Research in medical journals report that many people in this country are not getting enough of this vitamin. But what is the right dosage for supplementation so you don't calcify the arteries in your brain or heart?
If you have a gene variation, does vitamin D cause calcification of your aorta?
See the article at the CAT. Inst. site. Another article in the Journal of Vascular Research, Aortic Calcification Produced by Vitamin D3 plus Nicotine, notes that “Calcification of the elastic arteries of the young rat by treatment with vitamin D and nicotine (VDN) has been proposed as an animal model of arterial calcification associated with age and age-related vascular pathology in man.
The calcium-binding protein, S-100, which is found in human atherosclerotic lesions was associated with medial calcification of the aorta in VDN rats, especially in cases of severe calcification.” The abstract’s conclusion is that, “In conclusion, the mechanisms and consequences of aortic calcification in VDN show several similarities with calcification occurring in human athero- and arteriosclerosis.”
See the conclusion of the article in the MD Consult Preview, The vitamin D receptor genotype predisposes to the development of calcific aortic valve stenosis. - Ortlepp JR - Heart - 01-JUN-2001; 85(6): 635-8 (MEDLINE is the source for the citation and abstract of this record) that notes, “There is a significant association of vitamin D receptor polymorphism with calcific aortic valve stenosis. The B allele of the vitamin D receptor is more common in patients with calcific aortic valve stenosis. It now needs to be evaluated whether other genes that control calcium homeostasis are involved in the pathogenesis of this disorder.”
See the article, at: Oxford Journals, Cardiovascular Research, titled, Uraemic hyperparathyroidism causes a reversible inflammatory process of aortic valve calcification in rats. Uraemic hyperparathyroidism causes a reversible inflammatory process of aortic valve calcification in rats Renal failure is associated with aortic valve calcification (AVC). Our aim was to develop an animal model for exploring the pathophysiology and reversibility of AVC, utilizing rats with diet-induced kidney disease.
See the publication, Heart, and Education in Heart, a peer review journal for health professionals in all areas of cardiology. The article, Cardiovascular medicine, “The vitamin D receptor genotype predisposes to the development of calcific aortic valve stenosis”, J R Ortlepp, R Hoffmann, F Ohme, J Lauscher, F Bleckmann, P Hanrath, tests the hypothesis that vitamin D receptor polymorphism is associated with calcific aortic valve stenosis.
The conclusion noted, “There is a significant association of vitamin D receptor polymorphism with calcific aortic valve stenosis. The B allele of the vitamin D receptor is more common in patients with calcific aortic valve stenosis. It now needs to be evaluated whether other genes that control calcium homeostasis are involved in the pathogenesis of this disorder.”
What this means is if you have a genetic variation, a polymorphism on your vitamin D receptor, it’s association with calcification of your aortic valve. How do you know whether you have this particular gene variation that makes your body react a certain way to vitamin D3 by developing calcium deposits in your aortic valve?
What should you do? Keep asking whether the test is ready yet. And keep searching to find out whether science has found all the genes necessary to tell you how your body handles vitamin D3 supplements versus natural food intake, calcium, magnesium, and fish oils containing vitamin D3. Until you know, eat whole foods, get enough sunshine or other natural light, and keep researching.
Find out whether you have the B allele of the vitamin D receptor. Science knows those with it, at least in rats and some human patients, it is more common to see calcification of the aortic valve. But because it is more common, how does that tell us whether the gene variation is a risk? Or how many genes or alleles are involved? That's why you have to keep asking those experts that are talking about health care with you.
Also, on the subject of food cravings, according to the article, “Combat Your Food Cravings,” in the June 2009 issue of Natural Solutions magazine, page 79, if you crave sweets, what your body really needs are trace amounts of chromium, carbon, phosphorus, sulfur, and tryptophan. You can get all of these in small amounts from the following foods: To get enough chromium, eat broccoli, grapes, cheese, dried beans, and chicken. Think about this. But do you agree with this information you read in popular consumer magazines on health not meant for your doctor to read, but for the general consumer?
How can you find out whether this idea has been validated in credible medical journals? Where can you turn to for nutrition information after reading interviews in magazines?
The only problem with articles where health professionals are intereviewed is where can you go to validate all these statements in scientific studies or journals if references aren't listed in a sidebar? Where can you find the resources without having to subscribe to the medical journals? Start with the public library or some of the online nutrition sites that have references.
You may wish to check out, "Effects Of Vitamin D Deficiency Amplified By Shortage Of Estrogen," published November 17, 2009. Researchers at Johns Hopkins reported what is believed to be the first conclusive evidence in men that the long-term ill effects of vitamin D deficiency are amplified by lower levels of the key sex hormone estrogen, but not testosterone [read article].
Calcium and vitamin D are commonly recommended for older women, but the usual supplements may send calcium excretion and blood levels too high for some women, shows a new study published online June 18, 2014 in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). The study, "Incidence of hypercalciuria and hypercalcemia during vitamin D and calcium supplementation in older womenand The study also will be published in print in the November 2014 paper edition of Menopause.
For the past several decades women may have been advised by their doctors to take too high a dose of calcium supplements. Or they may have been told to take too high a dose of vitamin D. Hypercalciuria and hypercalcemia commonly occur with vitamin D and calcium supplements.
Why is there an increase in kidney stones among women?
Whether hypercalciuria and hypercalcemia are caused by calcium, vitamin D, or both is unclear. These findings may have relevance to the reported increase in kidney stones in the Women's Health Initiative trial. Because calcium 1,200 mg and vitamin D 800 IU/day are widely recommended in postmenopausal women, systematic evaluation of the safety of supplements is warranted in clinical management and in future studies.
This randomized, placebo-controlled trial included 163 older (ages 57 to 90) white women whose vitamin D levels were too low. The women took calcium citrate tablets to meet their recommended intake of 1,200 mg/day, and they took various doses of vitamin D, ranging from 400 to 4,800 IU/day. (The trial was limited by ethnicity because different ethnic groups metabolize calcium and vitamin D differently.)
Are women showing excess calcium in their blood and/or urine?
About 9% of the women developed excess levels of calcium in their blood (hypercalcemia), and 31% developed excess levels in their urine (hypercalciuria), even though they were taking normal doses of the supplements and did not have hyperparathyroidism, a condition in which the body makes too much calcium-regulating hormone. These excess blood and urine calcium levels may lead to kidney stones or other problems.
The good news in this study is that the investigators found a way to predict which women were likely to develop these excess levels. The risk of developing excess urine calcium was 15 times higher for women who started out with a 24-hour urine calcium level above 132 mg than for women with lower levels. And the risk was 20 times higher for women who started with levels above 180 mg than for women with lower levels. But every one-year increase in age reduced the risk by 10%.
"Even a modest calcium supplementation of 500 mg/day may be too high for some women," note the authors, according to the June 18, 2014 news release, "Supplements of calcium and vitamin D may have too much for some older women." The authors recommend measuring blood and urine calcium levels before women start using the supplements and again within three months
"I would recommend that women determine how much calcium they typically get through their food sources before taking a hefty calcium supplement. They may not need as much as they think," says NAMS Executive Director Margery Gass, MD. The National Institute on Aging and the Office of Dietary Supplements supported the study with a grant. You also may wish to check out the website of the NIH/National Institute on Aging, Office of Dietary Supplements. Or see, "Administrative Supplements for Research on Dietary Supplements."