Dangers of Too Much Calcium in Women:
Calcium is a very important nutrient for bone health. New research was conducted on Calcium intake, which suggests that older women who taketoo much calcium may be at increased risk of heart disease and even death.
Swedish researchers conducted research on 61,433 women born between 1914 and 1948 for an average of 19 years, confirming causes of death with a Swedish government registry. The investigators also used questionnaires to record the women’s food and calcium supplement intake.
After controlling for physical activity, education, smoking, alcohol and other dietary factors, they found that women who consumed 1,400 milligrams or more of calcium a day had more than double the risk of death from heart disease, compared with those with intakes between 600 and 1,000 milligrams. These women also had a 49 percent higher rate of death from cardiovascular disease, and a 40 percent higher risk of death from any cause.
The study, published last week online in BMJ, found the increased risk only in women who consumed the most calcium — there was no gradually increased risk with gradually increased calcium intake.
The authors noted that calcium can increase blood levels of a protein associated with higher risk for cardiovascular disease.
“If you have a normal diet, you don’t need to take calcium supplements,” said the lead author, Dr. Karl Michaëlsson, a professor and orthopedic surgeon at Uppsala University in Sweden. “Calcium supplements are useful if you have a very low intake of calcium, but few women have such a low intake.”
Calcium Foods: Milk and other dairy foods, nuts and fish such as sardines and pilchards (where the bones are eaten) are some dietary sources of calcium.
A version of this article appeared in print on 02/19/2013, on page D4 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Risks: Dangers of Too Much Calcium.