Calcium supplements may harm your heart health

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In a recent study from Johns Hopkins Medicine and elsewhere, researchers found a calcium-rich diet could be beneficial for the heart, but calcium supplements seem to increase the risk of plaque buildup in arteries and heart damage.

The findings add to growing scientific concerns about the potential harm of calcium supplements.

An estimated 43 percent of American adult men and women take a supplement that includes calcium, according to the National Institutes of Health.

And more than half of women over 60 take calcium supplements—many without a doctor’s oversight—because they believe it will reduce their risk of osteoporosis.

In the study, researchers on over 2,700 people in a research project funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, who completed dietary questionnaires and two CT scans 10 years apart.

They found an association between calcium supplements and atherosclerosis, the hardening and narrowing of the arteries that can cause heart disease.

They showed that calcium supplement users were 22% more likely to see their coronary artery calcium scores rise over the 10-year study period.

Meanwhile, participants who ingested calcium through their normal diets—even at the highest doses—saw no increased risk of heart disease.

The team says doctors can tell their patients that there doesn’t seem to be any harm in eating a heart-healthy diet that includes calcium-rich foods, and it may even be beneficial for the heart.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about drinking up to three cups of coffee a day may protect your heart, and scientists find drug combo that prevent stroke and heart disease.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about a new way to repair human heart, and results showing drinking coffee could help reduce heart failure risk.

The study was published in The Journal of the American Heart Association and conducted by Erin Michos et al.

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