Calcium Supplements and Cardiovascular risk – What does it mean for you?

May 3, 2011Posted By: igorUnder: Health News

If you have been watching the news, you may be wondering if you should continue to take the calcium supplement in your medicine cabinet anymore. 

Recently published studies have stated that supplementing with calcium can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems.  In particular, these studies found that in patients over the age of 40 taking 500 mg or more of calcium may experience increased cardiovascular risk.  They found that supplementation with calcium significantly increased the risk of heart attack by 27-31% when compared to those who were not supplementing with calcium.

Most of the studies that have been done to date have limitations.  They were not originally done to directly measure the risk of cardiovascular risk that arises due to calcium supplementation.  Additionally, these studies did not look at whether using calcium supplements in combination with vitamin D supplementation lowers this risk in any way. 

In conclusion, we need more studies to look directly at the cardiovascular risk that may be associated with the use of calcium supplements.  The study should also look at whether or not concurrent supplementation with Vitamin D yields the same risk as calcium supplementation alone. 

Current recommendations suggest the following amounts of calcium and vitamin D be consumed on a daily basis via a combination of diet and/or supplements:

Adults <50:  Calcium 1000 mg/day and Vitamin D 800-2000IU/day

Adults >50:  Calcium 1200 mg/day and Vitamin D 800-2000IU/day

If you are able to consume the required amount of calcium in your diet, supplementation is not required.  Those who have osteoporosis or osteopenia or are at risk of developing these diseases should talk to their pharmacist or doctor about supplementing with calcium and vitamin D.   To find out how much calcium you are getting in your diet ask your pharmacist today!

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