Calcium & Heart Attacks

Reference:Bolland MJ, et al Effect of calcium supplements on risk of myocardial infarction and cardiovascular events: meta-analysis. BMJ. 2010 Jul 29;341:c3691.

In the previous APTEI Report I had a rant on Cholesterol medications and their not publicized potential adverse effects. Now here I go with Calcium supplements.

It seems insane to me that almost every post-menopausal woman is automatically prescribed Calcium supplements as a protective measure against osteoporosis. However, you may be shocked to hear that several studies have actually pointed to the fact that Calcium supplements provide little benefit. Don’t get me wrong, many studies have shown that they clearly do increase bone density, but they do little to actually reduce the risk of bone fractures, which is the main worry of older women and their physicians.

This 2010 meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal (not a dinky journal), found a direct link between calcium supplementation and heart attacks. They concluded, “Calcium supplements (without vitamin D) are associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction.”

Personal Comment: It is important to mention that there was no risk in the patients whose total calcium intake was lower than 1400 mg/day. I however have patients who take say 1200mg/day of calcium but on top of that are also consuming a lot of dairy products, ‘just to be sure’. It seems like the media hype and paranoia is making us overdose on Calcium!

Anecdotal Cases: In the past 2 years I?ve had 3 patients where my hypothesis was correct … they had complete relief of their vague chronic muscular aches & pains within 2-weeks of discontinuing their Calcium supplements. Ask them to consult their MD or pharmacist.

Basically, this 2010 BMJ review concludes, “A reassessment of the role of calcium supplements in the management of osteoporosis is warranted.”

Posted on: March 29, 2011

Categories: Modalities / Meds / Supplements

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