Here's another positive study on calcium supplements--my second positive post in a row on calcium. This recently published study failed to establish a relationship between greater calcium intake and increased calcification of the coronary artery (a condition that characterizes heart disease).
The study was conducted in almost 1,300 older men and women between the ages of 36 and 83 years enrolled in the Framingham Offspring Study (which includes children and spouses of participants in the Framingham Heart Study). The analysis found absolutely no link between calcium intake--from diet or supplements--and coronary artery calcification (CAC), a strong predictor of heart attack.
The finding contradicts the conclusions of a few widely publicized studies, which suggested that calcium supplements might increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. After biased coverage by mass media, many women stopped taking calcium pills, which was not a wise choice for many, espcially since several concerns about the research methods used in these earlier reports have been widely debated in the scientific community, leading scientists to seriously question the earlier conclusions.
These findings add to the weight of the evidence that calcium supplements do not have adverse effects on cardiovascular disease risk. In fact, previous studies have shown that calcium has beneficial effects on blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. There’s also preliminary evidence to suggest that calcium plus vitamin D supplementation may improve blood glucose (sugar) control in people with type 2 diabetes.
While CAC is a known risk factor for heart attack, there's no evidence that consuming calcium causes this condition. Readers of my blog will know that the nutrient responsible for this is vitamin K2, or more specifically, the lack of vitamin K2.
Furthermore, experts contend that the small increase in blood calcium that occurs after taking a supplement (previously suggested as the reason for CAC) is unlikely to be large enough to cause calcification in artery walls, or any tissue in the body.
The Institute of Medicine--the organization that establishes nutrient recommendations for North Americans--also concluded that the evidence to date does not support a link between calcium and cardiovascular disease.
Meeting daily calcium requirements goes beyond bone health. Evidence suggests that calcium supplementation can help reduce the risk of precancerous colon polyps, maintain a healthy blood pressure, prevent pregnancy-induced high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia) and ease symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
That said, just remember that if you continue to take calcium supplement (and many of you should be taking them), be sure to be getting enough vitamin K2.
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Source: Calcium intake is not associated with increased coronary artery calcification: the Framingham Study