Recent medical studies strongly indicate a connection between calcium and risk of heart ailments. The following HealthHearty article elaborates more on this issue.
Recent studies are suggesting that taking calcium supplements (500 mg or more) everyday puts a person in the risk zone of heart attack. Is intake of supplemental form of calcium and heart attack risk in women and men related? Here comes the discussion…
Calcium and Heart Diseases
In the last 5 years, 11 studies were conducted under the supervision of Dr Alison Avenell clinical senior lecturer at Aberdeen University. A total of 12000 patients were put on a 500 mg dose of calcium supplement daily. After evaluating the studies, it was observed that consuming calcium supplements on a regular basis elevates the chances of heart attack by 30%. Although, the risk is minimal, it cannot be ignored and calls for caution when it comes to taking these supplements.
Although, calcium supplements pose a small threat to heart health, it is not yet established how synthetically prepared calcium can harm the heart. Doctors believe that daily supplement intake may eventually raise blood calcium to abnormally high levels. As a result, the excess calcium may get deposited on the walls of the arteries, thus making these blood vessels narrower. The narrowed arteries causes reduction in blood supply to the heart, which may lead to a heart attack.
Coronary Calcium Scan
Coronary calcium scan is a CT scan involving the arteries. A CT scan is a sophisticated X-ray machine that makes use of a computer to develop detailed pictures of an internal organ under consideration. A coronary calcium scan is done to detect the presence of foreign substances in the arteries. The blockages in the arteries is mainly due to build-up of plaques, hardened deposits of calcium, cholesterol or fat. A coronary calcium scan gives a detailed internal view of your arteries, thus helping to find out any abnormalities inside the arteries. Considering the association between calcium and heart attack risk as revealed through various clinical trials, people taking calcium supplements daily should undergo a coronary calcium scan on a regular basis to check for calcium deposits in the arteries. With coronary calcium scan, the doctor can easily determine the amount of calcified plaque present in the coronary arteries.
A point to note here is that studies involving 12000 participants were taking calcium supplements alone. In most patients today, the calcium dosage is always complemented with a vitamin D supplement. The supplement (500 mg strength tablet) that is recommended is a combination of vitamin D and calcium. The study only mentions that calcium supplements alone is linked with increased risk of heart attacks. Now, it is a known fact that people with vitamin D deficiency also have a higher chance of developing heart attacks than their peers with sufficient vitamin D levels. This fact has not been taken into consideration, while conducting the study. So, further studies are awaited that include participants taking both calcium and vitamin D supplements.
The study does suggest a link between calcium intake and risk of heart problems but the exclusion of vitamin D supplements warrants further investigations. However, regarding calcium dosage for bone health, it is best to consult a doctor so as to keep its supposed heart risk to a minimum.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.