The Effects of Calcium on Women’s Heart Health
Recent studies reveal that taking calcium supplements has another effect aside from preventing bone deterioration. It may actually increase the risks for heart disease.
Looking for Evidence from Studies
Even with the research findings, there is still no consensus regarding the intake of calcium supplements and its effects on heart health.
Because of the ongoing debate, experts in the medical field encourage people to obtain calcium from natural food sources instead of supplements. This works as a precautionary measure knowing that the reported increased risk of heart disease is due to calcium supplements and not calcium from the diet.
Researchers say that the risk of having heart attacks in women who consume calcium supplements without vitamin D is 27 to 31 percent higher.
The above result is a bit high since the women in the study had been taking calcium supplements already prior to the research trial. Another trial involving 16,718 women who were not taking calcium supplements prior to the trial only turned in 13 to 22 percent higher risk of heart problems, specifically heart attacks.
There were 13 more unpublished research that report a 25 to 30 percent increased risk for heart attack and 15 to 20 percent increased risk for stroke.
Scientific Explanation of calcium supplements’ effect on the heart
Some doctors think that the increased risk of calcium on heart health may be connected to the possible effect of calcium on hardening arteries. But some experts do not agree with this. They say that although calcium marks of inflammation, a heart attack is less likely with calcified vessels because of its stability.
The argument continues with the statement that the study results may be significant statistically but not clinically. Women who need to take calcium to strengthen their bones can do so according to the long term belief on the merits of calcium.
To summarize the points presented in this article, there’s no conclusive evidence that calcium supplements should be avoided because of the increased risk for heart disease. More studies are necessary to make clear the effects of calcium supplements on the heart. What doctors recommend to their patients right now is the sourcing of calcium from the diet. Eat more calcium-rich foods, such as milk and yogurt.
Photo credits: 500 mg calcium supplements with vitamin D by Ragesoss, Own work via Wikimedia Commons, Licensed under GNU Free Documentation License