Calcium Tablets Found to Cause Heart Disease by Jeffrey Dach MD
Posted Aug 19 2010 5:54am
Calcium Tablets Cause Heart Disease
by JeffreyDach MD
Do you take calcium tablets for osteoporosis prevention?
A new study just published in the British Medical Journal showed 30% increase in heart attack rates in women taking calcium tablets for osteoporosis. None of the patients used vitamin D along with calcium supplements. The study was headed by by Mark Bolland MD and Ian Reid, MD, of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, previously reporting this same finding in a 2008 BMJ article .
Brought Up Two Years Ago
Two years ago, I commented on the tendency for calcium tablets to deposit in the coronary arteries and cause heart attacks. This was brought to my attention by William Davis MD at the HeartScan Blog , and in the Dr Davis Track Your Plaque program for heart disease prevention.
Now What to Do?
What does this report mean for the millions of women taking calcium tablets? Should they all stop? The answer is that calcium tablets alone are not recommended. Rather a complete nutritional program that emphasizes Magnesium, Vitamin D, Vitamin K and pH balance is the correct approach to building strong bones, and is discussed in my article on reversing osteoporosis .
Bioidentical Hormones Build Strong Bone
The most important element of osteoporosis prevention in post-menopausal women is a bioidentical hormone program. We typically see Dexa scan (bone density) results go up when this type of program is followed.
What about Fosamax, Actonel and Boniva for Osteoporosis Treatment?
I have extensively written about the "Osteoporosis Drugs" called the bisphosphonates. I do not recommend them because they are currently in litigation for causing spontaneous jaw necrosis and mid-femur fracture. I catergorize them as "bad drugs", and I predict they will be taken off the market because of mounting evidence for adverse side effects.
Effect of calcium supplements on risk of myocardial infarction and cardiovascular events: meta-analysis
Mark J Bolland, senior research fellow1, Alison Avenell, clinical senior lecturer2, John A Baron, professor3, Andrew Grey, associate professor1, Graeme S MacLennan, senior research fellow2, Greg D Gamble, research fellow1, Ian R Reid, professor1
Conclusions Calcium supplements (without coadministered vitamin D) are associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction. As calcium supplements are widely used these modest increases in risk of cardiovascular disease might translate into a large burden of disease in the population. A reassessment of the role of calcium supplements in the management of osteoporosis is warranted.
(Published 15 January 2008)
Vascular events in healthy older women receiving calcium supplementation: randomised controlled trial
by Mark J Bolland, research fellow1, P Alan Barber, senior lecturer1, Robert N Doughty, associate professor1, Barbara Mason, research officer1, Anne Horne, research fellow1, Ruth Ames, research officer1, Gregory D Gamble, research fellow1, Andrew Grey, associate professor1, Ian R Reid, professor1 1 Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand
Conclusion Calcium supplementation in healthy postmenopausal women is associated with upward trends in cardiovascular event rates. This potentially detrimental effect should be balanced against the likely benefits of calcium on bone.
1. Calcium taken as a supplement appears to behave differently than calcium ingested from diet. This may be related to supplements lacking the natural calcium balancers which are present in food.
2. Low vitamin D Calcium ingested without adequate Vitamin D results in arterial calcifications. Vascular calcifications can accelerate atherosclerosis and result in heart attacks. The better your vitamin D status, the less calcium you have in your arteries. Most are very low in vitamin D.
3. Low Vitamin K Low Vitamin K speeds up arterial calcification. Higher Levels of Vitamin K has been shown to: Reduce mortality from all causes by 26%· Decrease Coronary Artery Disease by 57%
4. Low Magnesium Magnesium competes with the calcium binding sites on our cells. Magnesium is a critical mineral to balance calcium and according to the NIH, 62% of Americans are low on magnesium.
Calcium supplements boost myocardial infarction risk - Myocardial infarction or heart attack was more commonly found in patients with osteoporosis who used calcium supplements, a meta-analysis of 16 studies reported in the British Medical Journal or BMJ revealed. the current study led by Ian Reid, MD, of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues showed patients who had osteoporosis and took calcium supplements were 30 percent more likely to suffer myocardial infarction or heart attack.
The study was based on data from 11 previous clinical trials of 11,921 participants who were followed for a mean period of four years and five observational studies of 8151 participants who were followed for 3.6 years on average.
Patients in none of the studies were using vitamin D along with calcium supplements.
My Comment: Great article on calcium and heart disease! Taking calcium tablets alone for osteoporosis may increase coronary artery calcfication and heart diease risk, and should be re-evaluated. Other interventions and nutrients such as vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin K, pH balance etc may be more useful. Also, the type of calcium used may be significant, organic (citrate) to be preferred over the elemental (carbonate).
As you pointed out, Calcium Score is a test that shows the amount of calcification in the coronary arteries, and is strongly correlated with heart disease risk. How does one prevent and reduce heart disease? I recommend the William Davis Track Your Plaque Program.
Taking calcium tablets alone for osteoporosis may increase coronary artery calcfication and heart diease risk, and should be re-evaluated. Calcium Score is a test that shows the amount of calcification in the coronary arteries, and is strongly correlated with heart disease risk. How does one prevent and reduce heart disease?
Rather than overdoing the calcium tablets, optiizing Vitamin D, Magnesium and Vitamin K is more useful for osteoporoais prevention.
For More: http://www.drdach.com/Track_Your_Plaque.html
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