“Calcium: Get it from Natural Foods Not Supplements”
Experts are recommending a cautious approach to taking calcium supplements, especially following the results of new studies. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, coronary heart disease kills over 370,000 people each year in the U.S. More than half of women over 60 take calcium supplements, many without the oversight of a physician, because they believe it will reduce their risk of osteoporosis. An estimated 43% of American adult men and women take a supplement that includes calcium, according the NIH. Researchers at Johns Hopkins analyzed 10 years of medical tests on more than 2,700 people in a federally funded heart disease study and found that taking calcium in the form of supplements may raise the risk of plaque buildup in arteries and heart damage, even though a diet high in calcium–rich natural foods appears be protective. However, in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the researchers caution that their work only documents an association between calcium supplements and atherosclerosis, and does not prove cause and effect. Still, they say the results add to growing scientific concerns about the potential harms of supplements, and they urge a consultation with a knowledgeable physician before using calcium supplements.