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Aug 15, 2010

calcium supplements causes a 30% increase in heart attacks ?

A recent study on calcium supplements claims that taking calcium supplements causes a 30% increase in heart attacks. Practitioner Martha Howard, MD believes there are some serious problems with the study, a meta-analysis by Professor Ian Reid from the Department of Medicine at the University of Auckland, and published in the British Medical Journal.

A prominent researcher on calcium metabolism Professor Chris Nordin, of Royal Adelaide Hospital, has already questioned the findings. He says that the review is misleading because it does not separate men from women in the findings. According to him “Men are much more liable to heart attacks than women, but women need calcium far more than men, so it is absurd to publish a study of the effect of calcium on the heart without separating men from women.” Practitioner Dr. Martha Howard, MD, offers the following:

* Objections to the Study:

- We have no way of knowing how accurate the original 11 studies were because there are a lot of hazards in the kind of statistical number-crunching involved in a meta-analysis. Worst case scenario is a meta-analysis of 11 studies is conducted, all of which are flawed in their methods or have doubtful data or conclusions, and a larger conclusion may be reached.

- We do know that in the studies, the calcium was treated as an “independent variable” so magnesium and Vitamin D were not given. Magnesium is needed to balance calcium intake. Vitamin D is needed for proper calcium metabolism.

- Carrying out studies that do not provide the other vitamins and minerals needed could have some very poor results. It is possible that calcium supplements, specifically when given without magnesium and Vitamin D, do cause additional calcium deposits in the arteries. This may lead to more heart attacks, but the meta-analysis is not sufficient evidence to tell.

* Recommendations:

· Calcium, Magnesium, and Vitamin D supplementation is especially important for premenopausal and postmenopausal women. The current recommendation for premenopausal and postmenopausal women is from 1000 to 1500 mg of calcium per day.

· Given that most people do get some calcium in their diet, 500 mg of calcium with 250 mg magnesium and 400 IU of Vitamin D (taken all together) is probably enough supplementation, unless the person is allergic to dairy.

· Vitamin D is very important to bone health. There are many people walking around with Vitamin D deficiency in the United States—not enough sun exposure, and not enough Vitamin D in their diets. In addition to osteoporosis, Vitamin D deficiency also is a factor in Alzheimer’s disease. Get your Vitamin D level taken, and if it is low, take 2000 IU or more per day until your level is normal.

· Take the Vitamin D orally, do not accept high dose injections—they have been associated with atypical bone fractures.

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