Can Calcium Supplementation Cause Heart Attacks?
One of the most common topics that I come across in home medication reviews with elderly patients is calcium supplementation.
Recent research has shown that calcium supplements are associated with an increased risk of heart attacks.
As calcium supplements are widely used these modest increases in risk of cardiovascular disease might translate into a large burden of disease in the population.
The study looked at calcium supplements that did not contain vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with increased risk of heart disease and there have been studies showing that vitamin D supplementation is associated with decrease mortality.
An important point to realise is that this study looked at calcium supplementation, not dietary calcium. In previous studies, women with high levels of dietary calcium intake have been found to have a decreased risk of stroke and heart disease.
We know that calcium and vitamin D are important for bone health and can prevent fractures. So what should be recommended to take care of bones but not increase the risk of heart disease?
Until more rigorous studies are done to determine what it is about calcium supplementation that is leading to increase heart disease, the best thing to do is, wherever possible get calcium through food sources including dairy sources like milk, cheese, yoghurt or non dairy sources like almonds, tofu and spinach.
Your Accredited Pharmacist: Susan Gao
You can fax your GP referrals at any time directly to Susan on (02) 9803-0140
Susan can be contacted by phone on 0421 531 878