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Do Calcium Supplements Damage the Heart?

By Melissa Hill, 9:00 am on

The National Institutes of Health estimate that up to 43 percent of adults take calcium supplements. However, an extensive study performed by researchers at John Hopkins University School of Medicine revealed that supplements carry an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Following is what Oklahoma live-in care providers need to know.

The scientists were curious to examine the effects of calcium supplements as studies indicated that when seniors ingest this nutrient, the mineral does not go to skeletal bone. Calcium is also not excreted by the kidneys. The group concluded, therefore, that the mineral must deposit in soft tissue. Researchers were already aware that as adults age, calcium-based plaques lead to atherosclerosis. They group carefully analyzed data from a study conducted by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. 

The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis involved 2,742 volunteers assessed at six university research facilities, which included John Hopkins. The participants completed questionnaires and underwent cardiac CT scans over the course of 10 years. The adults ranged from 45 to 84 years of age. Slightly more than half were female. 

Dietary questions were designed to evaluate the amount of calcium each individual obtained from their daily intake of dairy products, dark leafy greens, cereals and other calcium-rich foods. The scientists also assessed the type of supplements the adults took and found that 46 percent used calcium supplements. The people were divided into separate groups based on total calcium intake, food-based calcium intake and dietary supplements. The researchers also considered the volunteers’ age, sex, weight, vital signs, smoking and drinking habits along with family medical history. 

Taking all of the participant’s individual factors into consideration, they found that supplement users demonstrated a 22 percent increased risk of developing coronary artery disease or heart disease due to calcium-based plaque formation. However, in the adults who obtained calcium solely from food sources, there was no increased risk. 

Scientists remain unsure if the problem lies in the type of calcium found in the supplements. There is a possibility that the body may not be able to handle the large doses all at once. They advise that obtaining the mineral from food sources is the healthier option rather than taking supplements.

With help from a reliable home care provider like Home Care Assistance, seniors get the hands-on assistance they need to accomplish everyday tasks while boosting their physical and mental wellbeing. We provide comprehensive live-in and hourly home care Oklahoma families trust to look after their loved ones. Call 405-285-4191 today to learn more about our services and find out how they can benefit your loved one.