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calcium-supplements-may-cause-heart-attackTake Calcium Supplements With Caution.

That is what Swiss researchers warn.  For it is now believed that calcium supplements may elevate your risk of a heart attack.  However, the Swiss are ranking the risk of heart attack as moderate.  Researchers studied roughly 24,000 women and men over an 11 year period.  And the people that took calcium supplements increased their risk of heart attack 86% compared to those who took no supplements.  The actual number of heart attacks was deemed small, however, at 354 out of the 24,000.  Researchers did locate a link or likelihood between heart attack and calcium supplements, but the study has yet to show cause and effect.  Of course, the dietary supplement folks take issue with this study.

Should I Take Calcium Supplements?

Calcium and heart health has produced mixed findings over the years.  Previous studies have concluded that dietary calcium can lower the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease.  Yet other studies have not supported these results.  But two other writings on the subject as early as the past two years have warned that calcium supplements indeed may boost the risk of heart attack.

Calcium & Risk of Heart Attack:

  • In this latest study, researchers had men and women fill out food surveys.  Then they interviewed them on their vitamin or mineral supplementation.  Both the women and men averaged age 50 during the study, which started in 1994 and lasted until 1998.  During the follow-up part of the study, the researchers recorded 267 heart disease induced deaths and 260 strokes.
  • The researchers did not find a link between total amount of dietary calcium and stroke or heart disease deaths.  However, they did find that a diet high in calcium reduced the risk of having a heart attack. 
  • Researchers then divided the subjects into four groups, where some of them ate a diet high in calcium and others took calcium supplements.  The group that ate a high-calcium diet reduced their risk of a heart attack by 31 percent.  Those who took the calcium supplements raised their heart attack risk by 86 percent.

How Much Calcium Should I Take?

Women that have passed menopause cannot afford a low intake of calcium.  Osteoporosis or a fracture can occur in this age group without proper calcium intake. Women of all ages are encouraged to first eat a calcium rich diet, then fill in any gaps with a supplement.  Women are encouraged to speak with their doctor on how whether or not to do calcium supplements.

So how much calcium is recommended?  Starting at age 19 through age 50, women should be getting 1,000 milligrams per day of calcium.  Men should get the same amount from age 19 through age 70.  Women age 51+ should up their intake to 1,200 milligrams daily, and men should do the same when over 70.

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