The National Institutes of Health released the results of a study Feb. 20 that showed men who took calcium supplements were more apt to die of heart disease than those who didn't get extra calcium in supplement form.
Lead researcher Qian Xiao, from the National Cancer Institute, and her colleagues found men who took 1,000 milligrams or more of calcium per day were 20 percent more likely to die of heart-related causes than those who did not supplement with calcium.
"It's possible that calcium build-up in the arteries and veins may affect cardiovascular risks in some people," said Xiao.
Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, magnesium expert and Medical Advisory Board member of the nonprofit Nutritional Magnesium Association says magnesium is needed to help the body utilize calcium. Without magnesium, too much calcium can become toxic, causing the arteries to calcify, leading to heart attacks and heart disease.
Dr. Dean points out, "There is a growing amount of scientific evidence pointing to high calcium–low magnesium intake leading to calcification, or hardening, of arteries, known as atherosclerosis, the number one cause of death in the US.
Finnish scientists conducted a study on women and calcium in 2009 which showed calcium supplements increased the risk of coronary heart disease. According to Michael F. Roizen, MD, Chief Wellness Officer for Cleveland Clinic, "Magnesium is also known to lower blood pressure, dilate the arteries, and, when given after a heart attack, restore normal heart rhythms."
Doctor Joseph Mercola, a proponent of natural healthcare, said this, "If you decide to supplement with calcium, it is important to understand that its complementary partner is magnesium. So you should use both. Typically you would use twice as much elemental magnesium relative to the elemental calcium. That ratio works out quite well for most."
Magnesium can be obtained from the diet when it includes a variety of beans, whole grains, oat mill, leafy greens, nuts and seeds.
A 32-page guide to the benefits of magnesium and how to support a healthy heart is available as a free download.
Always consult a physician before adding vitamins and herbal supplements as forms of natural health treatments or preventatives. When listing medications taken on health history forms, list all vitamins and herbal supplements. Some vitamins and supplements can react badly with prescribed medication or prevent them from working properly.