Calcium tablets can increase the risk of having a heart attack.
(07/31/2010) Older patients in particular are taking calcium tablets to strengthen their bones. But according to a New Zealand study, these calcium supplements can increase your risk of having a heart attack. Scientists had published their results in the British Medical Journal.
Calcium is good for bone maintenance. Older patients in particular take these calcium supplements on the advice of their family doctor. However, a recent study by researchers from New Zealand's "University of Auckland" came to the conclusion that calcium tablets can obviously increase the risk of a heart attack. For this reason, a treatment with the drugs for the disease osteoporosis should be rethought, the scientists said.
A total of 12,000 subjects took part in the study. A total of eleven clinical examinations were carried out. Half of the study participants got Calcium tablets and the other half drug-free placebo. Based on the results, it could be shown that taking calcium tablets regularly increases the risk of heart attack by an average of 30 percent. This does not only happen in older patients, but the result is independent of the age, gender and nature of the calcium supplements. "If 1,000 people swallow calcium for five years," says Reid, "you can expect about 14 more heart attacks than people who don't take calcium." commented study director Ian Reid.
Many people think that taking calcium tablets would be a "natural process". But such tablets are not "natural", as Reid says. After all, vitamin and mineral supplements have long been controversial. It has been shown that calcium tablets actually increase bone density, but in contrast can trigger heart attacks. "If 1000 people swallow calcium for five years, you can count on about 14 more heart attacks than people who don't take calcium," said the researcher Reid.
The exact circumstances have not yet been fully established. The calcium increases the bone density, but one suspects that higher calcium values in the blood can cause lasting damage to the heart. After taking calcium supplements, the calcium levels in the blood rise to the maximum level of the normal range within six hours. Plaques could form in the blood, causing limescale. This can not only lead to heart attacks, but also to strokes and coronary heart diseases. That doesn't happen if you eat calcium normally through food. Then the calcium will only slowly release to the body.
Again and again the question arises why more and more people are using such preparations. One reason for this may be that the food industry and pharmaceutical manufacturers want to make consumers know that vitamin and mineral supplements strengthen health. Calcium can be found in many natural foods. So e.g. in brown rice, apples, bananas, cabbage, potatoes, tofu and of course in milk. After all, an unhealthy way of life and manner cannot be compensated for by preparations. Rather, it is important to eat a balanced and healthy diet. That would be a sensible prevention against diseases such as osteoporosis. (sb)