The Zoomer Report: Calcium and Heart Risk

Here’s important information on calcium supplements, which have often been recommended for stronger bones. A large new study finds that taking them may raise the risk of a heart attack.

In recent years, some health authorities had hoped that calcium supplements, in addition to building bones, might also provide consumers with cardiovascular benefits.

But while higher levels of calcium from food may prove to be good for the heart, the research suggests the same does not hold true for calcium purchased over the counter. A study from 2010 found that those who were taking a minimum of 500 milligrams of calcium a day — had nearly a 30 per cent greater risk of heart attack than those who were not. The researchers speculated that taking calcium in supplement form causes blood levels of the mineral to quickly spike to harmful levels, whereas getting it from food may be less dangerous because the calcium is absorbed in smaller amounts at various points throughout the day. The bottom line according to the researchers — we should be cautious about taking the supplements — and we should get the calcium we need from foods like low-fat milk and dairy products and mineral water.

Photo © Denise Bush

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Libby ZnaimerAbout The Zoomer Report
Libby Znaimer, a prominent Canadian journalist specializing in business, politics, and lifestyle issues, is producer and host of The Zoomer Report, a special feature on topics of interest to baby boomers and the 50+. It covers everything from health and wealth to leisure and volunteerism, from the special vantage point of the generation that has changed society in its wake.
Ms. Znaimer is also Vice-President of News and Information for Classical 96.3FM and AM740. Her first book, “In Cancerland – Living Well Is The Best Revenge” – was published in October 2007 by Key Porter.