Is there anything sacred anymore? For years researchers have stressed that people are not getting sufficient calcium to build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis (brittle bones). But now a research report claims that calcium supplements increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Nevertheless, a largely unknown vitamin can prevent this tragedy.
Dr. Ian Reid and his colleagues at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, studied 14,000 women who were taking 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily. They report in the British Medical Journal that these women showed a 31 per cent increased risk of coronary attack, stroke and death. This means 14 extra heart attacks, 10 more strokes and 13 more deaths over a two to five-year period than women not taking calcium pills.
Why does this happen? Dr. Reid says that people look on calcium supplements as a natural remedy. But that is not the case as the supplement has a different effect on the body than dietary calcium. His studies show that when people take calcium pills, their blood calcium level shoots up for four to six hours to the top end of the normal range. This may result in calcium being deposited in coronary arteries. It does not happen with dietary calcium since food is slowly absorbed.
This is shocking news as, unlike some supplements, there’s never been a major controversy about taking calcium. So should North Americans stop popping calcium pills