Can Calcium Supplements Give You A Heart Attack?
Why We Need Calcium Supplements
It is a known fact that calcium is a very important mineral that our body needs. Yes, our entire body – not just our bones! There are many food items that are rich in calcium such as; Cheese, Milk, Yoghurt, Soybeans and Dark Green Veggies such as Spinach. Calcium helps strengthen and promote the health of our bones and teeth! Additionally, it is also required to maintain the smooth functioning of our nerves, muscles and heart. According to The National Institute of Health; an adult should consume 1000mg of calcium per day and the requirement is higher in case of kids. Calcium deficiency can make us more vulnerable to disease; it may also weaken the bones and teeth. In order to avoid such an incident, people usually opt for calcium supplements. However, it is important to note that the maximum limit per day is 2500mg, if an individual consumes more than that it can cause multiple complications including; kidney diseases and recently it has been discovered that it may also cause a heart attack!
Calcium Supplements and Heart Attack
A recent discovery was made; researchers found out that consuming excess calcium supplements can double the risk of heart attack. This discovery has come as a shock since it was previously believed that calcium supplements can reduce the risk of heart diseases!
This particular study was conducted in Germany, whereby which 24,000 men and women took part in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. The individuals were given calcium supplements, the study showed an 86% increased chances of heart attack amongst individuals who were consuming calcium supplements.
Previously it was seen that calcium helps reduce the blood pressure level in our body, aiding in avoiding heart disease. However, this is the case with dietary calcium for example, the most popular source of calcium - milk. With milk, calcium content is low and is absorbed slowly throughout the day. Calcium supplements have very high calcium levels, which causes the amount of calcium in our body to shoot up which can be very harmful to the body according to Professor Ian Reid and Mark Bolland, from the University of Auckland in New Zealand.
"Calcium supplements have been widely embraced by doctors and the public on the grounds that they are a natural and therefore a safe way of preventing osteoporotic fractures," they also wrote. "It is now becoming clear that taking this micronutrient in one or two daily doses is not natural, in that it does not reproduce the same metabolic effects as calcium in food."
"We have good evidence that calcium is good for bones. Calcium is important for other organs, including the heart," said Dr Kevin Fox, the Royal College of Physicians' spokesman on cardiology; he added that the study should be "treated cautiously". He also said: "The message is that if you have a medical need to take calcium supplements to protect your bones you should do so and there is good evidence to support this. If you have no medical need, then just stick to a healthy mixed diet and don't take unnecessary supplements."
A Department of Health spokesperson said: "We will consider the study carefully once the complete article has been published. The majority of people do not need to take a calcium supplement. A healthy balanced diet will provide all the nutrients, including calcium that they need. Good sources of calcium include milk and dairy foods, fortified dairy food alternatives, e.g. soya drink and green leafy vegetables."
It all comes down to this; the use of calcium supplements should be restricted to necessity, that is, when you actually need it. Dr Claire Bowring, of the National Osteoporosis Society said "This study further highlights the need for care when considering taking calcium supplements. If you get all of the calcium that you need from your diet then a supplement will not be necessary. Boosting calcium beyond recommended levels has no extra benefit for bones.
The benefits of calcium cannot be ignored but the main point here is that before consuming any type of medication including calcium supplements, consult your doctor. They have medical expertise and will tell you what’s good for you and what’s not.