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Calcium supplements can have harmful effects
Many people around the world use so-called calcium supplements. Researchers have now found that such calcium supplements can have harmful effects on the human heart. However, this does not apply to foods that are rich in calcium.
Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and the University of North Carolina found in an investigation that calcium in the form of dietary supplements appears to have an adverse effect on our hearts. The doctors published the results of their study in the "Journal of the American Heart Association".
More calcium isn't necessarily better
When it comes to the use of vitamins and minerals in nutritional supplements, many people think that more vitamins or more calcium also have better effects, explains the author Dr. Erin Michos. However, the researchers now explained that such supplements could cause heart problems, for example. Supplement users may want to rethink their attitudes toward the products.
Many Americans use calcium supplements
Excess calcium in the form of nutritional supplements can damage the cardiovascular system, explains Dr. Michos. Approximately 43 percent of American adults are currently taking a so-called nutritional supplement. Scientists report that more than half of women over the age of 60 take calcium supplements to reduce their risk of osteoporosis.
Study examines approximately 2,700 subjects
The research team analyzed the data from the medical tests of ten years. To do this, they examined around 2,700 adults who participated in a study on heart disease. The subjects were between the ages of 45 and 85 years. They were all asked about their daily diet and taking supplements. In addition, CT scans were carried out to measure the calcification of the arteries, explain the doctors. Arterial calcification is a well-known risk factor for heart disease.
Experts are studying various sources of calcium
The study found that when participants consume a lot of calcium, there is a 27 percent lower risk of heart disease compared to people with the lowest calcium intake. As a next step, the medical team examined the effects of the sources through which subjects had absorbed calcium.
Taking calcium supplements increases the build up of plaque
The scientists then found that taking calcium supplements significantly increased the likelihood of plaque buildup in the arteries. It also increases the risk of heart disease compared to people who don't take supplements. The results increase growing concerns about the potential harm from calcium supplements, the authors explain.
Natural calcium protects our heart
While calcium supplements can pose a risk to the heart, natural calcium even protects our hearts, doctors say. This natural calcium is found in milk and many dairy products, broccoli, oranges and beans, for example.
Too large doses of calcium supplements appear to be unhealthy
There are clearly differences in how the body reacts to supplements or natural foods. Calcium salts contained in supplements or excessive doses of calcium may be responsible for the risks, explains co-author John Anderson of the University of North Carolina.
Calcium supplements increase the likelihood of kidney stones
The risk of calcium supplements should not be underestimated, just because these supplements can be purchased anywhere, the doctors explain. Coronary artery disease kills approximately 370,000 people each year in America alone. The researchers warn that the risks of heart disease must be taken into account. Another study recently found that calcium supplements can also increase the likelihood of kidney stones. Overall, therefore, caution is advised when using it. (as)