Calcium Supplements Increase Risk of Death in Women

Calcium Supplements Are Making Headlines Again……




Earlier this week it was reported, based on a large Swedish study, that eating a diet high in calcium and taking calcium supplements increased a woman’s chance of dying from heart disease by two fold.

Women over 40 have been prescribed calcium supplements for years to prevent bone loss and  osteoporosis.  It was believed that increased calcium intake with or without vitamin D could also improve cardiovascular health, but the new studies suggest the opposite.

This recent study was conducted over a 19 year span at Uppsala University in Sweden, where Dr Karl Michaelsson led a team who analyzed data collected on  over 61,000 women who were also enrolled in a study on mammography.  During the 19 years, 7,000 women died from cardiac events, including heart disease and stroke.  The highest rate of death was seen among women with a calcium intake that exceeded 1,400 milligrams per day.   It was also noted that women who had a suboptimal calcium intake, less than 600 milligrams,  also had an increased risk of death.   In addition, the women taking calcium  supplements had an even higher risk of death.

So under 600 milligrams is dangerous and above 1,400 milligrams is deadly.  The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends 1,200 mg per day and it is best to get it through food sources.  The bottom-line is if you are considering supplements look at your diet first and see if you are getting the recommended daily intake from what you eat, especially with all of the calcium fortified foods on the market.


For more information contact The American Heart Association.


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