On May 23, 2012, the Los Angeles Times published an article warning that taking calcium supplements increases the risk of heart attack. The article was based on findings from a Swiss/German study published in the journal, Heart. Calcium is the top-selling nutritional supplement in the United States, so naturally this report raised quite a fuss when it was published. But here are a few things you may not know.
Study Faces Criticism
The study conducted by the scientists was set up to examine the effects of diet and nutritional supplements on cancer and nutrition health; it was not specifically targeted toward calcium supplements and cardio health. This means that even though there were several thousand participants in the analysis, only a fraction of them took any calcium supplements or consumed foods with high amounts of calcium (such as milk and dairy products). Another thing to consider is that study paints a bad light on calcium alone, but not when calcium is consumed as part of food or with other nutrients. The researchers claimed that when too much calcium is consumed, it can clog arteries the same way cholesterol plaque does. However, according to a 2007 article on WebMD, pairing calcium with other nutrients, such as vitamin D and magnesium, aids calcium absorption in bones and helps maintain normal blood calcium levels. Most high-quality supplements or multivitamin formulas already do this.
Strong Bones Need Calcium
Calcium supplementation is crucial to supporting bone density, especially in maturing women who are more prone to age-related bone loss. Studies on the benefits of calcium are so plentiful that the Food and Drug Administration has even approved health claims about calcium with regard to osteoporosis. The National Products Association, a leading representative of the dietary supplement industry, believes that people who are currently taking calcium supplements should not be frightened into cutting off their supplementation, especially if it has been recommended by a physician. If you are concerned about your calcium intake, speak to a physician first before making any radical changes to your supplement plan.
- Maugh II, T.H. “Calcium supplements increase risk of heart attacks, study finds.” May 23, 2012; https://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-calcium-heart-disease-20120523,0,5563591.story.
- Runestad, T. “What you haven't heard about the latest calcium scare.” May 24, 2012; https://newhope360.com/blog/what-you-havent-heard-about-latest-calcium-scare.
- Natural Products Association. “NPA picks apart new calcium study.” May 24, 2012; https://newhope360.com/news/npa-picks-apart-new-calcium-study?cid=nl_npi_daily.
- Griffin, R.M. “Boning Up on Calcium: Supplements for Bone Health.” Aug 1, 2007; https://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/living-with-osteoporosis-7/calcium-supplements.