Dr. Mehmet Oz says many people are calcium-deficient, but some actually consume too much calcium, especially through supplements, and are putting themselves at risk for heart disease.
Dr. Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon, warned against the pitfalls of calcium overload on his talk show Oct. 25.
Getting enough calcium is essential for bone health, and promotes optimal nervous-system functioning and hormone regulation. But excess calcium gets deposited in the lining of blood vessels and makes arteries stiffen, said Dr. Oz.
This forces your heart to work harder to pump blood throughout your body. Excess calcium can also cause other health problems, such as kidney stones.
Calcium overload can happen when people take calcium supplements in addition to eating calcium-fortified foods. Today there are lots of calcium-fortified foods, including orange juice and nutrition bars.
The combination of dietary calcium (in cheese or milk, for example) and a multivitamin (which contains calcium), along with a separate calcium supplement, on top of calcium-fortified foods lead to calcium overload.
Dr. Oz recommends getting 1,200 mg of calcium a day (from food — not from supplements) with 1,000 IU of vitamin D.
Dr. Oz said the best way to ensure strong bones and a healthy heart is to eat calcium-rich foods such as kale, yogurt, spinach, sardines and salmon. He also suggests doing weight-bearing exercises such as lifting weights or walking.