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Fluke or Trend? Calcium vs Heart Disease Part 3

Posted Feb 08 2013 1:39am
Last May, I wrote about a possible link between calcium & heart disease .  Well, that link just got stronger as a prospective study was published online this week in JAMA Internal Medicine  in which the authors concluded that calcium supplements were associated w/heart disease in men (but not women!).  Just as important, no link was found between dietary calcium and heart disease in either women or men.

 In this prospective observational study, 388,229 participants 50-71yo were followed for an average of 12 years.  Calcium intake was assessed from diet, multivitamins & plain calcium supplements.  At least half the men took additional calcium beyond their dietary intake while close to three fourths of the ladies did, too.  It should be noted that calcium consumption has been shown to decrease risk of osteoporotic fracture , so its use isn't without reason.

However, this newest study lends credence to early suggestions that supplemental calcium might be a double edged sword.  Given that heart disease is the number one cause of death in both men & women, dietary calcium appears to be the way to go to protect the bones without negatively impacting one's heart.  Obviously, we need more information on this association, especially how dietary calcium is different from supplemental calcium, and how female physiology is immune to calcium's negative effects on male hearts.

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