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Growing evidence that calcium impairs heart health

April 21, 2011
New Zealand researchers who reviewed data involving thousands of women in more than a dozen studies have added to the growing belief that calcium supplements may raise the risk of heart disease.

Published online in the journal BMJ, the research team concluded that women are better off getting calcium from their diet rather than supplements to bolster their bone strength. In addition, they found the risk to heart health was greater when the calcium supplements did not contain vitamin D.

"Our own recommendation is to critically review the use of calcium supplements, since the data in this paper suggests that they do more harm than good," said Dr. Ian Reid, a professor of medicine and endocrinology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Although the U.S. Women's Health Initiative concluded that calcium doesn't impair heart health, the New Zealand team focused on nearly 17,000 women in that study who had never taken calcium supplements before the study.

Those taking calcium and vitamin D as part of the study had a 13 percent to 22 percent increased risk of heart problems.

Within the North Shore-LIJ Health System, a clinical trial on heart health is evaluating proteins present in the blood during a heart attack where blood flow is diminished.
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