Effects of Calcium Supplements

As part of my on-going work about the possible benefit of nutrients for my own health, I have been researching recent articles about the effects of calcium supplements.

Do Calcium Supplements have risks?

Some doctors are currently of the view that taking calcium supplements may lead to an increased risk of a heart attack. Other doctors take the view that calcium supplements have little or no effect on the heart. Concern about calcium supplements and heart attack risks have recently arisen as many people continue to take calcium supplements to treat or prevent bone diseases such as Osteoporosis.

Calcium supplements side effects

The conclusions of a recent study suggest there is increased risk of heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular diseases in men who take over 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day. Other studies suggest there is an increased risk for both men and women. It is thought that the calcium in supplements could potentially make its way into fatty plaques in the arteries, which increases the risk of heart disease.

However, it is important to note that the calcium supplements that some doctors are concerned about are supplements in particularly high doses. Calcium from food sources, such as dairy and green leafy vegetables is not a concern at all. Current recommendations regarding calcium supplements for people who have risk factors for osteoporosis haven’t changed.

It’s important to continue to source calcium from your diet, take regular exercise so that you’re not solely relying on calcium supplements alone. As with any health issue, it’s important to talk to your doctor to determine what supplements are suited to you.


27 Aug, 2013

6 thoughts on “Effects of Calcium Supplements

  1. Taking to much of a good thing isn’t good. I agree we should get most of our calcium from our diet.

    I do know that a lack of calcium can cause some heart issues and one of the drugs possibly given when someone has a heart attack is calcium chloride via IV drip. There is always a risk when taking anything I have found out. But the natural things are best.

    I have just recently found out that too much cod liver oil can cause a vitamin A toxicity, which can lead to liver and brain damage. So the oil is off my son’s list of meds now even though it helped tremendously with his hyperactivity. We are going to go to just plain fish oil.

    I think it all boils down to diet. We can get everything we need from a well rounded diet.

    1. Thanks Lisa. I agree that we should rely on our diet more than our supplements. There can be no substitute, but with farming and the processing methods used we don’t always reap the benefits from food, like we used to do when we were growing up.

      There has to be a place for supplements, it’s not always possible to obtain our nutrients completely from our diets, but diet comes first. As with all supplements we have to have a break from them. Even if it’s for just a week.

      Obviously new thoughts about certain supplements through research will bring about these findings.

  2. This really doesn’t surprise me. It makes sense that overdoing calcium could lead to deposits that cause coronary problems. I am sure as time goes on, more research will demonstrate that other supplements are potentially equally as harmful.

    While the supplement/nutrient industry does help certain people with specific nutritional needs and at specific times, I have long been of the view that our food should be the key source of nutrition and that ‘topping it up’ is both expensive and often inappropriate.

    1. I think you’ve made some very valid points. Thank you.

      Like you I also believe there will be findings in the future on other supplements too. Research has a tendency to work that way. There was a time when eggs were believed to contribute to increasing cholesterol so everyone cut down. Now the findings on eggs are that they don’t add to cholesterol at all.

      I also agree that food should be our primary source and I would always advocate that, but for those of us who have problems with food (and I am included) and who struggle to eat foods because they make us ill. I wish I could eat.

      I have always believed that supplements are necessary, but mustn’t be consumed in high quantities or vast amounts. Popping the pills isn’t the answer either, but if we’re not meeting our nutritional requirements for whatever reason, then supplements become completely necessary and appropriate.

  3. I need to take a calcium supplement daily, since having my thyroid removed 20 years ago I have been taking 600 mg of calcium with vitamin D. I have had bone scans and everything looks fine, but my Mom has osteoporosis and I surely know that diet alone can’t solve the problem (it didn’t for her anyway).

    I didn’t even know that they backed down off of eggs for being a culprit for higher cholesterol. So I did learn something from your post and am looking into calcium further with regard to heart disease.

    1. Thanks Maria. I think once we reach the menopause we’re more prone to problem with Osteoporosis as you’ve mentioned in your response, so it is important to take a calcium supplement. Osteoporosis can run in families and women are more prone to it than men.

      We can also supplement and have calcium through our foods. Low fat cheese, milk and soya products all contain calcium and pro-biotic yoghurts and all your leafy green vegetables are high in calcium. Tinned sardines and tinned salmon with the bones also contain calcium, so there are things we can do.

      Exercise and a healthier lifestyle is also important and cut down on saturated fats too. Saturated fats reduce bone density.

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