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Calcium Supplements Could Harm The Heart

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Taking calcium supplements may elevate the risk of plaque buildup in arteries and may lead to heart damage. This is despite the fact that a weight loss plan high in calcium-rich meals seems be protecting, say researchers who analyzed 10 years of scientific tests on more than 2,700 persons.

After examining the results of 10 years of scientific tests on greater than 2,700 individuals in a federally funded heart disease study, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine conclude that taking calcium in the form of dietary supplements may just raise the danger of plaque buildup in arteries and coronary heart damage, despite the fact that a eating regimen high in calcium-rich meals appears be protective.

The results of this research were released in the Oct. 10 of the Journal of the American Heart Association. In this study, the researchers caution that their work just documents the association between calcium supplements and atherosclerosis, and does not show reasons and outcomes.

However, the results may add to growing scientific concerns on potential harms of dietary supplements. This is why a consultation with a health care professional should be done before utilizing calcium dietary supplements. An estimated 43 percent of adult men and women in the US take a supplement that contains calcium, according to the National Institute of Health.

Excess Calcium


According to Erin Michos, M.D., M.H.S., associate director of preventive cardiology and associate professor of medicine at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, When it comes to using vitamin and mineral supplements, particularly calcium supplements being taken for bone health, many Americans think that more is always better. But our study adds to the body of evidence that excess calcium in the form of supplements may harm the heart and vascular system.

The researchers had been motivated to study the effects of calcium on the heart and the blood vessels. This is because reports have already confirmed that “ingested calcium dietary supplements — certainly in older men and women — do not make it to the skeleton or get thoroughly excreted within the urine, thus they often accumulate in the body tissues. This is according to nutritionist John Anderson, Ph.D., professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health and a co-author of the report. Scientists also knew that as a person grows old, calcium-related plaque builds up in the body’s main blood vessels such as the aorta and other arteries, thus increasing one's chances of having a heart attack.

The investigators checked out data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a long-term study which was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. It included greater than 6,000 people who were seen at six research universities, along with Johns Hopkins. The study focused on 2,742 of these individuals who completed dietary questionnaires and two CT scans done 10 years apart.

The subjects chosen for this study ranged in age from 45 to 84, and 51 percent were female. Forty-one percent were white, 26 percentage were African-American, 22 percent were Hispanic and 12 percentage were Chinese.

At the start of the study in 2000, all individuals answered a 120-part questionnaire about their dietary habits to assess how much calcium they took in from consuming dairy products; leafy veggies; calcium-enriched meals, like cereals; and other calcium-rich meals. Separately, the researchers inventoried what medications and dietary supplements every participant took every day.

The investigators used cardiac CT scans to measure participants’ coronary artery calcium scores, a measure of calcification within the heart’s arteries and a marker of heart disorder risk when the ranking is above zero. At first, 1,175 subjects showed plaques in their heart arteries. The coronary artery calcium tests were then repeated 10 years later to verify newly constructing or worsening coronary heart disease.

For the evaluation, the researchers first divided the individuals into 5 groups based on their calcium consumption, together with both calcium supplements and dietary calcium. After adjusting the data for age, sex, race, activity, smoking, income, education, weight, smoking, drinking, blood pressure, blood sugar and family medical history, the researchers separated out 20 percent of the individuals with the highest calcium consumption, which was greater than 1,400 milligrams of calcium a day. That group was said to be 27 percent less probably than the 20 percentage of individuals with the lowest calcium intake to develop heart disease, as indicated by their coronary artery calcium test.

Next, the investigators observed the differences among those who are taking in dietary calcium and those utilising calcium supplements. Forty-six percent of the population used calcium dietary supplements.

The researchers once more accounted for the same demographic and lifestyle factors that might affect heart disorder risk, as in the previous evaluation, and found out that calcium supplement users showed a 22 percent increased probability of having higher coronary artery calcium scores over the decade, indicating the development of heart disease.

According to Anderson, There is clearly something different in how the body uses and responds to supplements versus intake through diet that makes it riskier. It could be that supplements contain calcium salts, or it could be from taking a large dose all at once that the body is unable to process.