You may want to think twice about taking calcium supplements to boost bone health. Millions of people do. But now New Zealand researchers say the supplements can endanger cardiac health in older people and have little effect on bone strength.
They analyzed 11 controlled trials involving 12,000 patients, and concluded that supplements raised the heart attack risk by 30 per cent in older women.
The researchers say that increased risk is enough to completely counterbalance the small beneficial effect that calcium tablets have on numbers of fractures.
Rather than relying on calcium supplements, they suggest people get their required calcium from food.
At the very least, they say you should talk to your doctor before continuing with additional calcium. The report is published in the British Medical Journal. An editorial accompanying it said more research will be needed to determine if the heart attack risk is real. Also, this analysis did not look at what happens when calcium is taken with vitamin D – a popular combination.