Calcium supplements do not raise heart disease risk, according to a study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Calcium supplementation and cardiovascular disease risk was compared in 74,245 women from the Nurses’ Health Study who were free of heart disease and cancer at baseline. At the end of 24 years, 4,565 cardiovascular events had been reported (2,709 coronary heart disease and 1,856 strokes). After adjusting for age, body mass index, dietary calcium intake, and other cardiovascular risks, the women taking more than 1,000 milligrams of supplemental calcium a day had a 29% lower risk for heart disease and no increased risk for stroke. The authors conclude that, “Our study adds to the existing body of evidence supporting that calcium supplements do not increase the risk of heart attack or stroke in women.”
In Perspective: A few studies in the recent past have shed concern on the potential adverse effects of calcium supplements on heart disease risk, especially in women. Since dietary calcium is typically low in most American’s diets, supplemental calcium is the logical alternative. More than 60% of women over the age of 60-years-old are taking calcium supplements to fill in the gaps and help prevent osteoporosis. This study helps ease people’s concerns. In addition, the women who took calcium supplements also tended to take better care of themselves, so the benefits extend beyond just healthy bones.
Paik J, Curhan G, Sun Q, et al: Calcium supplement intake and risk of cardiovascular disease in women. Osteoporosis International 2014;May 7th.