Calcium Intake Associated with Cardiovascular Disease

The Physicians Committee

Calcium Intake Associated with Cardiovascular Disease

April 21, 2011

Calcium supplements may increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, according to a study published this week in the British Medical Journal. Researchers followed 16,718 postmenopausal women in the Women’s Health Initiative. They found that a combination of calcium and vitamin D supplements increased heart health risk by 13 to 22 percent. The analysis showed the risk of calcium intake remained with or without vitamin D.1

Calcium supplements have been called into question by previous studies showing that calcium intake from both supplements and dairy products increases the risk of prostate cancer.2-4

1. Bolland MK, Grey A, Avenell A, Gamble GD, Reid IR. Calcium supplements with or without vitamin D and risk of cardiovascular events: reanalysis of the Women’s Health Initiative limited access dataset and meta-analysis. BMJ. Published ahead of print April 19, 2011. doi:10.1136/bmj.d2040.

2. World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research. Food, Nutrition, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective. American Institute for Cancer Research. Washington, D.C. 1997; p. 322.

3. Chan JM, Stampfer MJ, Ma J, Gann PH, Gaziano JM, Giovannucci E. Dairy products, calcium, and prostate cancer risk in the Physicians’ Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001;74:549-554.

4. Chan JM, Giovannucci EJ. Dairy products, calcium, and vitamin D and risk of prostate cancer. Epidemiol Rev. 2011;23:87-92.

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