Calcium Supplements – The Final Word?

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I have come across another recent report on calcium supplements. This time, instead of correlating calcium intake with rates of disease, the calcification of arteries was studied (1).

Researchers in the Framingham Study measured calcium intakes and then followed participants for four years at which time they measured the amount of calcification of their arteries. They found no correlation or trends with calcium intake and calcification of the arteries in amounts up to about 3,000 mg per day in either men or women. Ditto for calcium supplements of 500 mg per day or more compared to 0 or 1-500 mg per day.

The authors of the study note one other study looking at calcification of the arteries (2) which found no association in the prospective arm, though did find a cross-sectional correlation at baseline.

The article No Need to Worry About Calcium and Your Heart from the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter (March 2013) makes it sound like the jury is in and it’s a done deal – calcium supplements are safe (in the amounts studied). Based on the other research I’ve written about, Calcium Supplements and Cardiovascular Disease in the News, I would still suggest not going over 1,400 mg per day.

One can hope that more studies will not come out to contradict these findings!

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References

1. Samelson EJ, Booth SL, Fox CS, Tucker KL, Wang TJ, Hoffmann U, Cupples LA, O’Donnell CJ, Kiel DP. Calcium intake is not associated with increased coronary artery calcification: the Framingham Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Dec;96(6):1274-80. | link

2. Wang TK, Bolland MJ, van Pelt NC, Horne AM, Mason BH, Ames RW, Grey AB, Ruygrok PN, Gamble GD, Reid IR. Relationships between vascular calcification, calcium metabolism, bone density, and fractures. J Bone Miner Res. 2010 Dec;25(12):2777-85. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.183. Epub 2010 Jul 16. Erratum in: J Bone Miner Res. 2011 Feb;26(2):439. (Abstract) | link

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