During the course of several decades, medical professionals have extolled the virtues of taking enough calcium to support bone health and avoid osteoporosis. For many aging adults (especially women) this meant supplementing with one of a number of unnatural forms of the mineral, as our diet typically provides scant amounts in a desirable form from vegetarian food sources. In the past, misguided hype from the American Dairy Association has suggested that higher calcium intake is associated with a lowered risk of high blood pressure, obesity and type II diabetes, all of which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
Researchers from Germany are now sounding the alarm to warn unsuspecting individuals that calcium from supplements should be 'taken with caution', as they have found boosting overall calcium intake from supplementation and certain dietary sources confers no significant advantage in terms of staving off heart disease and stroke. Publishing in the British Medical Journal
, scientists determined that calcium supplements might double the risk of having a heart attack.
The authors examined a cohort of 24,000 people, aged between 35 and 64 when they joined the study in 1994 to 1998. The participants were questioned about their diet for the past twelve months and they were then quizzed about whether they regularly took vitamin or mineral supplements. Their health was tracked for an average of eleven years, during which time 354 heart attacks, 260 strokes, and 267 associated deaths occurred.
Excess calcium from cheap supplements or diet can be deadly; protect yourself with vitamin K2
After accounting for confounding factors that may influence the results of the study, the research team found there was a distinct dividing line between health propagation and detriment based on calcium intake. They determined that those whose diet included a moderate amount (820 mg daily) of calcium from all sources, including supplements, had a 31% lower risk of having a heart attack than those in the bottom 25% of calcium intake. Conversely, supplementation above 1100 mg daily did not carry a significantly lower risk.
When the team looked at the source of calcium, they found that those who took calcium supplements regularly were 86% more likely to have a heart attack than those who didn't use any supplements. The researchers concluded their study "suggests that increasing calcium intake from diet might not confer significant cardiovascular benefits, while calcium supplements, which might raise heart attack risk, should be taken with caution."
The study did not factor the critical research published in the Journal of Nutrition
that demonstrates how vitamin K2 is essential to usher calcium from the blood, where it can become bound with oxidized LDL cholesterol to form deadly coronary plaque. This is most likely the reason that high intakes of calcium (from diet or supplements) dramatically increased heart attack risk. To significantly lower heart disease risk, be sure to obtain calcium from vegetable sources such as leafy greens, broccoli, kale and almonds and always supplement with vitamin K2 (500 to 1000 mcg per day). Be wary of the common wisdom to take calcium as a low quality supplement to avoid a little known risk factor for heart attack.Sources for this article include:http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d2040http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120523200752.htmhttp://www.nutraingredients.comhttp://www.lef.orghttp://jn.nutrition.org/content/134/11/3100.full