Wait, don’t pop in that calcium supplement? It may be dangerous

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Weakness in bones? Grab a calcium supplement, advice the doctors. But have you thought about the way intake of extra calcium can affect your body. This important nutrient that is essential for healthy bones may become a reason for heart disease and other complications if taken in excess quantities.

Calcium and bone health

Bone health is dependent on calcium intake but research has indicated that large amounts of calcium consumed by older women may expose the women to heart disorders and even other complications like death.

The Swedish research study

A sample of women who were born in the period from 1914-1948 was collected, and a research study was done on them by Swedish Researchers. The follow-up research was carried out on almost 61,433 women for about 19 years. The researchers prepared a questionnaire to keep an account of the diet taken by the ladies and the intake of the calcium supplements they took. The study confirmed the reasons for death recorded by the Swedish government registry.

The research study, that is published online in the “BMJ”, highlighted that in women factors like education, alcohol, physical activity, smoking and diet were scrutinized along with their calcium intakes. The research study states “women who consumed 1,400 milligrams or more of calcium a day had more than double the risk of death from heart disease”. This was in comparison to those women who took about 600-1000 mgs of calcium daily. These women also showed about 49% higher rate of heart disease and a 40% higher death risk.

Implications of the study

According to the research authors, calcium intake can increase the levels of a protein present in the blood that is indirectly responsible for an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The risk was faced by those women who took calcium in large amounts. The experts hint that “the increased risk only in women who consumed the most calcium — there was no gradually increased risk with gradually increased calcium intake.”

The lead author of the study, Dr. Karl Michaëlsson, a professor and orthopedic surgeon at Uppsala University in Sweden states that calcium supplements are not necessary with a normal healthy diet. According to him “Calcium supplements are useful if you have a very low intake of calcium, but few women have such a low intake.”

High calcium dosage has shown to cause vomiting, tiredness, loss of appetite, and diarrhea so before you head out for the calcium supplement bottle, it’s better to get your physical done by a medical specialist.

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Edited by Neelam Goswami on 20-03-2014.

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