Scientists say calcium supplements could be doing more harm than good in people with adequate intakes by overloading the body
Women with high calcium levels are at twice the risk of dying from heart disease than those with ‘normal’ levels, scientists warn.
New research adds to evidence that calcium supplements could be doing more harm than good in people with adequate intakes by overloading the body.
Hundreds of thousands of women over 50 take supplements for preventing osteoporosis, or thinning bones.
But the latest research shows women with calcium intakes at least double the recommended level are at high risk of death from all causes, particularly cardiovascular disease.
Researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden studied 61,443 Swedish women aged 50 and over for an average of 19 years, including their calcium intake from diet and supplements.
Average intake among those with lowest levels was 572mg per day (the equivalent of five slices of cheese), rising to 2,137mg per day among those consuming most.
Results showed that over the 19 years, 11,944 women (17 per cent) died: 3,862 of these (32 per cent) died from cardiovascular disease, 1932 (16per cent) from heart disease and 1100 (8 per cent) from stroke.
The highest rates of all-cause, cardiovascular and heart disease were observed among those with a dietary calcium intake higher than 1400mg per day.
In addition, researchers observed higher death rates among women with an intake below 600mg per day.
Women whose daily calcium exceeded 1400mg and also used supplements had a higher death rate than those not taking supplements - the risk was double compared with a daily intake of 600-999mg.
The Food Standards Agency recommends adults have 700mg of calcium a day, which should come from dietary sources including milk, cheese and green, leafy vegetables.
Researchers claim the way supplements increase the levels of calcium circulating in the blood appears to have a ‘flooding’ effect which might be harmful.
Dietary calcium taken in small amounts is absorbed slowly, and efforts should be made to boost intake in people eating too little, they say.
There have been conflicting results from past research, with some studies finding high calcium intakes increase the risk of heart death among men and women while others have failed to show a link.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2277885/Women-high-calcium-levels-twice-risk-dying-heart-disease.html#ixzz2KnfB1han
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