A new study says that calcium supplements increase the risk of heart attacks, German and Swiss researchers reported on Wednesday. This new finding adds to an already increasing amount of evidence that the supplements increase the risk for those who consume them, while not providing many benefits.
This recent study is important due to the large number of people still taking the calcium supplements, especially elderly women, in hopes they can slow down the loss of their bone density. The new evidence suggests that calcium consumed in a normal diet increases an individual’s bone density and even possibly helps to lower blood pressure. However, supplements might be too risky to be taken.
Nearly 24,000 people participated and were studied by researchers with all of the participants aged between 35 and 64, at the time they first enrolled from 1994 through 1998. For the previous year, normal diets were assessed and the participants quizzed if they took mineral and vitamin supplements on a regular basis.
At the point, researchers tracked each participant for 11 years. In those 11 years, 354 heart attacks were recorded by researchers, 260 strokes plus 267 deaths related to strokes or heart attacks.
Researchers reported that the participants with a moderate rate of calcium, 820 milligrams per day, in their diets had a 31% lower chance of a heart attack than people in the lower 25% for calcium intake, but those with a daily intake of over 1,100 mgs did not see a lower risk. There was not any evidence calcium intake level in the daily diet affected the risk someone would suffer a stroke.
When supplements were considered, researchers found that supplement takers were 86% more apt to suffer a heart attack, that those that did not take supplements. For those only taking calcium supplements, the risk was 50% higher.