New studies suggest that you might be better off getting calcium from foods – dairy products, soy foods and green vegetables – instead of supplements.
For years, we’ve been advised to consume ample calcium to protect our bones and combat osteoporosis. Not surprisingly, many people turn to calcium supplements. Indeed, 43 percent of the U.S. population, and nearly 70 percent of women older than 50, take supplemental calcium.
That could change in light of recent troubling reports that calcium supplements may do more harm than good. The conflicting messages have left many wondering if it’s time to toss out that bottle of calcium pills.
SUPPLEMENTAL CALCIUM CONSEQUENCES
Earlier this decade, the media widely covered research published in the journal Heart that linked calcium supplements to increased risk for heart attacks. The news didn’t get better after the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force draft recommendation against calcium and vitamin D supplements, issued in June 2012, which asserted that they offered no protection against fractures in postmenopausal women, and increased risk of kidney stones.
An editorial published in the same issue of Heart suggested that calcium supplements aren’t natural to the body. Dr. Diane L. Schneider, geriatrician and author of “The Complete Book of Bone Health,” said, “It’s a bigger load when you’re taking calcium concentrated as a tablet rather than as food.”