Calcium supplements are often recommended and prescribed for older men and women. This is in order to maintain bone health and prevent osteoporosis. But recent news regarding calcium supplementation is rather gloomy. The nutritional supplements world is often one of contradictions.
As usual, the media is eating this up. I'm talking about the new study (review may be a more appropriate word) suggesting that calcium supplements may raise heart risk in men, by as much as 20 per cent. Apparently women are unaffected.
Over an average 12 years of follow-up, about 7,900 men died from cardiovascular disease, as did nearly 4,000 women. Among those who died, 51 percent of men and 70 percent of women were taking calcium supplements, the researchers found.
Xiao's group calculated that men taking 1,000 milligrams a day of a calcium supplement had a 20 percent increased risk of dying from heart disease. Men also had a 14 percent increased risk of dying from a stroke, but this was not statistically significant, the researchers said.
Among women, however, calcium supplements were not linked to an increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. And, calcium from diet didn't increase the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease for either sex, the researchers found. See original story
Interestingly, this is really no news but old news repackaged. Back in May 2012, a study had suggested that men and women – not just men – who took calcium supplements were 86 per cent more likely to suffer a heart attack than those who did not take supplements. Now, that's a huge percentage.
Getting calcium from food sources does not appear to present any problems. So the new study suggests that you get this important mineral from food (duh, why didn't I think of that?). Well, they are called supplements for a reason. The word means "in addition". Or is the problem somewhere else? Say, the amount of the nutrient you are getting? A previous study seems to point to this direction:
A group of researchers has discovered a fact that would certainly end many people's fear regarding calcium supplements. The team says that recommended levels of calcium would not risk anyone and can be taken without concern. See original post
So, Your heart or your bones?
Should men now discard their calcium supplements? Well, if we followed the previous study, both men and women should have discarded these supplements. This is a decision best left to the individual. Talking to a knowledgeable healthcare professional would be a good idea.