A recent well-publicized study reported that women with the highest intake of calcium (>1400 mg/day) and who used supplement tablets had an all-cause risk for death 2.5 times higher than women who had similar total intakes but were not taking a supplement.
However, the debate over the safety of calcium supplements has been muddied with the publication of a new analysis showing that a high intake of supplemental calcium increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) death in men but not in women. Compared with individuals who took no calcium, men who consumed 1000 mg or more of supplemental calcium per day had a significant 20% increased risk of CVD death, a risk that was driven by a significant 19% increased risk of heart-disease death.
For women, however, there was no association between calcium intake and the risk of death.
Before you throw out your calcium supplements please know calcium is an important mineral; one you can’t live without. Certainly meeting your calcium needs through healthy diet is preferred but doing so isn’t easy.
Your body doesn’t produce calcium, so you must get it through other sources. Calcium can be found in a variety of foods, including:
– Dairy products, such as cheese, milk and yogurt
– Dark green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli and kale
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body, necessary for not only bone health but also regulating your heartbeat, conducting nerve impulses, clotting blood and stimulating hormone secretions. Your body does not make calcium, and in fact loses calcium daily through your skin, nails, hair, sweat and elimination, which is why you must replace it via your diet.
Due to the fact that about 99 percent of your body’s calcium is stored in your bones and teeth, if you don’t get enough calcium, your body will take calcium from your bones to perform necessary functions. This is where the idea that supplementing with calcium could prevent calcium loss from your bones comes from — but it is an overly simplified theory that lacks solid evidence to back it up, especially in Western, modernized cultures which consume unprecedentedly large amounts of dairy-derived, fortification-based and supplemental calcium. It is just as important if not more important to eat green leafy vegetables and get consistent weight bearing exercise, than to simply rely on calcium supplementation alone.
Milk Isn’t The Answer
Moreover, in the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study found that the relative risk of hip fracture was 45% higher in those women who drank two or more glasses of milk per day versus those who drank one glass or less. Indeed, in countries where both dairy consumption and overall calcium levels in the diet are the lowest, bone fracture rates are also the lowest; conversely, in cultures like the United States where calcium consumption is among the highest in the world, so too are the fracture rates among the highest (see: The China Study).
Taking any calcium in excess or in isolation, without complementary nutrients like magnesium, vitamin D, biotin, vitamin B12, and vitamin K2, which help keep your body in balance, can have adverse effects, such as calcium building up in coronary arteries and causing heart attacks. Even taking calcium with vitamin D does not appear to be enough to prevent these types of adverse effects. This is why it is important to take good pharmaceutical grade multivitamin, which contains calcium and all the needed co-factors for building bone and keeping you healthy.
I advise men to keep their calcium supplementation at 1,000mg or below and women 1,4000mg of below.
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