News

Calcium supplements seem not to increase heart disease risk in elderly women

August 18, 2014

According to a new review current evidence does not support the hypothesis that calcium supplements increase the risk for post-menopausal women to develop heart disease.

The meta-analysis included the results of 18 randomized controlled trials which investigated a potential relationship between calcium intakes and cases of cardiovascular disease and death among 63,563 post-menopausal women (1). The study results showed that calcium supplementation with or without vitamin D did not increase the risk for coronary heart disease or all-cause mortality in the participants.

The researchers commented that the analysis reaffirms the safety of calcium for heart health. As calcium is the main structural constituent of arterial plaques, the hypothesis was built that long-term use of calcium supplements, especially by elderly women who want to counteract the loss of bone mass, may increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Some observational studies reported about an increased risk for post-menopausal women who took more than 1200 mg of calcium a day for years (2, 3). However, there is no mechanistic evidence that shows why calcium from supplements would contribute to arterial plaques, the scientists noted.

References

  1. Lewis J. R et al. The Effects of Calcium Supplementation on Verified Coronary Heart Disease Hospitalization and Death in Postmenopausal Women: A Collaborative Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. Published online July 2014.
  2. Li K. et al. Associations of dietary calcium intake and calcium supplementation with myocardial infarction and stroke risk and overall cardiovascular mortality in the Heidelberg cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study (EPIC-Heidelberg). Heart. 2012; 98(12):920–925.
  3. Michaëlsson K. et al. Long term calcium intake and rates of all cause and cardiovascular mortality: community based prospective longitudinal cohort study. British Medical Journal. 2013; 346:f228.