Here’s some useful information. One of my patients asked me to find out the truth about the scary reports that taking Calcium supplements can affect the heart.
This lady and her mother had been taking liquid calcium for some time and had seen benefits but as the mother has a weak heart they did not want to make the condition worse.
We approached two of our suppliers with the question and we reproduce their responses below:
Thank you for your email.
I am sorry to learn that your client and her mother feel they cannot take a calcium supplement. I can understand that sometimes media hype can be rather frightening and I hope that I can put their mind at ease. Calcium, like any other ingested material, can be detrimental to us if taken (a) in large quantities and (b) if it becomes deposited in the arteries, rather than in the bone. However, the levels found in any of our supplements fall within the Government guidelines issued for upper safe levels, therefore it should not be cause for concern. Furthermore, the majority of our calcium containing supplements, excluding Calasorb, combine this mineral with vitamin D3. Osteoguard and Multi-Guard Osteo Advance 50+ also have the addition of magnesium and vitamin K. These nutrients have been shown to help to ensure that the calcium gets transported into the bone matrix rather than remaining in the bloodstream where it may contribute to clogging up the arteries.
It is always recommended that the consumer keeps their GP informed of any supplements they are taking, especially when they are being treated for a condition, with or without medication.
I hope this is helpful, and if your client has any other queries, then please do not hesitate to contact me.
Senior Technical Advisor
Lamberts Healthcare Limited
Thank you for contacting us. I hope I can help you with your question.
The impact of calcium (from diet and supplements) on cardiovascular health is much debated. Several observational studies have found a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular events in women with higher calcium intakes, while some intervention studies have identified an opposite trend such as an increased risk of myocardial infarction in a group of women supplemented 1g elemental calcium as calcium citrate per day compared to placebo. Part of the theory behind why calcium supplementation may pose a cardiovascular risk is its ability to elevate serum calcium levels which may then promote calcification of blood vessels which in turn is associated with vascular events.
It is important to note that the majority of intervention studies which have yielded concerning results about the impact of calcium supplementation on cardiovascular health used high dose calcium (e.g. 1g/day) administered in isolation rather than in conjunction with other nutrients which are cardio-protective and have a role in calcium metabolism, primarily vitamin D and Vitamin K2. One particular intervention study which administered 1g/day elemental calcium as calcium carbonate alongside 400 IU/day vitamin D3 found that this combination caused no change in coronary or cerebrovascular risk in healthy post-menopausal women over a 7-year study period. The authors concluded that women taking calcium/vitamin D supplements “need not fear adverse cardiovascular consequences.” A recent review paper also discussed the importance of increased vitamin K2 intake for reducing the apparent cardiovascular risk associated with calcium supplementation in isolation.
Although much debate still surrounds this topic, emergent research seems to be supportive of the importance of increasing intake of calcium through diet and supplements alongside vitamin D and/or K2 to minimise the cardiovascular risk while optimising bone health.
We don’t normally suggest high level of calcium therefore our Calcium citrate should be suitable as it provides 300mg of Ca. Additionally a good level of vitamin D is advisable, I would recommend Nutrisorb BioMulsion D at 3 drops during winter months.
BioCare Clinical Nutrition