Another recent ‘scare’ reported in popular media suggest that taking calcium supplements increases the risk of heart attacks.
Of course, antything that might increase the risk of heart attacks would certainly be scary, but let’s put these recent reports in some perspective. First of all, the information came from statistical associations where 99% of all the data came from one study – the Nurses Health Study. There are zero randomized controlled studies showing a cause/effect of calcium supplementation and myocardial infarction [heart attacks]. In the study cited, 54% of the participants were already taking extra amounts [more than daily recommendations] of calcium.
Probably the major reason for people supplementing calcium is to decrease the risk of bone fracture, but the evidence for this is not strong. Trying to put all available data into some kind of context that people can use, here’s how one responsible journal [Canadian Journal of Family Medicine] put it: ‘If 100 people take calcium supplements, less than 1 may have a fracture prevented. If 100 people take calcium supplements, less than 1 may have a heart attack. For the remaining 98, taking calcium suppements will make no difference’.
Also, taking vitamin D alone has not been shown to have any increased risk of heart attacks, but does reduce risk of fracture [especially hip] and does increase strength [which may independently decrease risk of falls and fracture].