A new study, the results published today online in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), has suggested elevated cardiovascular risks in individuals taking calcium supplements. The National Institute for Health-AARP Diet and Health Study involved approximately 400,000 men and women between 1995 and 1996. After their calcium intake was assessed, study participants were then followed for 12 years.
The results of the study found that men who took more than1500 milligrams of calcium on a daily basis had an increased risk for death due to cardiovascular disease. Women were found to have no increased cardiovascular risks. However, the study conclusion was cautious:
We found a significant interaction by sex. Elevated cardiovascular disease mortality with increasing supplemental calcium intake was observed only in men. However, we cannot rule out the possibility that supplemental calcium intake may be associated with cardiovascular mortality in women.
Other research studies have linked women taking calcium supplements to cardiovascular risks. One study, published in BMJ online in April of 2011, had women only as participants. More than 16,000 women over the age of 40 were randomly given either calcium with vitamin D or a placebo. The study results showed that the women taking the calcium supplements had close to 20 percent more heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems than the women taking the placebo.
Speak to your healthcare professional about the use of calcium supplements. It may be that getting the additional calcium you need to maintain strong bones can be achieved through diet. Milk and dairy products, along with a variety of vegetables, fruits and legumes are calcium rich and are risk free.