Calcium Supplements Linked to Heart Risk

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, July 30 (UPI) — Calcium supplements, but not calcium obtained by food, are linked to an increased risk of heart attack in healthy older women, New Zealand researchers say.

Dr. Ian Reid of the University of Auckland in New Zealand and colleagues says millions of older women take calcium supplements to stave off osteoporosis. Reid and a team of colleagues worldwide conducted a review of 11 randomized controlled trials of calcium supplements — without added vitamin D — involving 12,000 patients.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, finds calcium supplements were associated with about a 30 percent increased risk of heart attack, and smaller, non-significant, increases in the risk of stroke and mortality.

The researchers say earlier studies found no increased cardiovascular risks with higher dietary calcium intake, suggesting the link to increased risk is restricted to supplements.

Reid says calcium supplements give modest benefits for bone density and fracture prevention and there should be a reassessment if the role of calcium supplements on osteoporosis management is warranted.

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