WASHINGTONA new study published in the May issue of the peer-reviewed journal Osteoporosis International, found now independent association between supplemental calcium intake and risk of incident coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke (Osteoporos Int. 2014 May 7. [Epub ahead of print]). This prospective cohort study of 74,245 women in the Nurses’ Health Study, with 24 years of follow-up, counters recent reports that suggest calcium supplements may increase cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.
The study took place between 1984 and 2008 and started with 74,245 women, who at baseline, were free of CVD and cancer. Calcium supplement intake was assessed every four years. During the 24 years of follow-up, 4,565 cardiovascular events occurred (2,709 CHD and 1,856 strokes). At baseline, women who took calcium supplements had higher levels of physical activity, smoked less, and had lower trans-fat intake compared with those who did not take calcium supplements. The researchers found that calcium supplement intake did not increase CVD risk in women.
This is the fourth study in recent months to reaffirm the safety of calcium.
“Calcium is an essential nutrient most widely used for its bone health benefits, and government data show most Americans don’t get enough," said Duffy MacKay, N.D., senior vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, Council for Responsible Nutrition. “We encourage continued studies on calcium’s safety and benefits, but this study should help women feel confident that calcium supplements are an appropriate choice if they are not getting enough from food alone."