Calcium Supplements & Heart Health|Is There a Link Between Heart Problems & Calcium Supplements

It is common that people during various life phases and during aging, often feel the need to take nutritional supplements like multivitamins and calcium to maintain health. However, recent researches suggest that calcium supplements may not be heart healthy. It is found that there can be a link between heart problems and calcium supplements.

For good bone health, calcium supplements are essential but are best taken only after consultation with the doctors to ward off any potential risks involved. It is believed that a diet rich in calcium may not be able to provide enough calcium, hence the use of calcium supplements has increased. But considering the fact that calcium supplements may not be heart healthy, it is important to understand the best ways to deal with it.

Women are often affected by weak bones and other health problems during pregnancy and menopause as they age. People taking right calcium from their diet have also shown considerable improvement in their bone health. Moreover, the side effects of calcium supplements on heart must be considered before going for supplementation.

Calcium Supplements & Heart Health

Calcium Supplements and Heart Health

Calcium supplements are required when there is an increased risk of osteoporosis and usually women over 60 years of age are more prone to weak bones. To mitigate the effects of aging on bone health, the need to have calcium supplements has gone up in the recent times. However, this has led to excessive consumption of calcium supplements without understanding their benefits and side effects.

Calcification of arteries, is a risk factor for heart diseases and its level and severity can be observed in the CT scans. People having an increased level of calcium through supplements often show arterial calcification. This could indicate that calcium supplements can be linked to some heart ailments.

Body shows different responses to natural diet and extra supplements for calcium. Some studies show that people who have taken high doses of calcium in their diet have escaped some potential heart risks as compared to those taking calcium supplements. When calcium is taken in its natural form, it is easily digested and absorbed by the body, thus preventing its accumulation in major organs. This is one of the reasons why calcium supplements may not be heart healthy as compared to a calcium rich diet.

Is There a Link Between Heart Problems & Calcium Supplements

There is no exact evidence that calcium supplements may not be heart healthy. But in some researches, it has been observed that people with higher level of calcium in their blood are found to be at increased heart risk.

Now, why is this so? In the studies conducted with the calcium-rich diet vs. calcium supplement, it was observed that heart functioning was actually affected in the latter case. Calcification of heart arteries observed in the CT scans of people taking calcium supplements suggests that calcium supplements may not be heart healthy.

When people take excess calcium through calcium supplements, the excess calcium gets stored in the blood vessels. As a result, plaque builds up in the arteries, resulting in atherosclerosis, which is a risk factor for heart disorders. Due to the plaque, the blood supply to the heart can get affected, which ultimately increases the risk of heart attack. Blocking of arteries increases the pressure on the walls of arteries, which can cause high blood pressure, another risk factor of heart diseases. As excess calcium can cause this trouble, it is believed that calcium supplements may not be heart healthy.

A calcium rich diet would be more effective in comparison to the calcium supplements. Calcium supplements can increase the risk of heart diseases in mainly two ways:

  • The person is taking large doses of the supplement at once. It becomes tough for the body to digest large doses of calcium supplements. The unprocessed form of calcium gets deposited as plaque, eventually contributing to heart risks.
  • Presence of Other Salts. Calcium supplements may contain other salts or certain forms, which are not suitable for the heart functioning

Heart ailments and calcium supplements indeed have a close linkage but that also follows the principle that anything taken in excess is never healthy. Hence, if calcium intake is in moderation and as per your body requirements then better results may actually boost your bone health. For this reason, it is recommended that you take medical advice before you begin taking any supplement over your diet.

A tip to keep you protected from the possible problems of calcium supplement is to combine vitamin D as well. This trick has been seen to mitigate the non-absorption of calcium. Generally, the presence of vitamin D improves the absorption of calcium in your diet or supplement and aids in making your bones stronger.

The best way to deal with this problem is to have a healthy, balanced diet, which provides you with all nutrients in the right amounts. Also, when it comes to calcium supplements or any nutritional supplement, it is best to seek medical opinion. If there is a need, your physician may prescribe calcium supplements and vitamin D for your health. It is necessary that you follow medical advice and take calcium supplements as prescribed and only for the advised duration. Avoid taking calcium supplements by yourself or for extended periods without medical advice.

While it is necessary to keep a check on calcium supplements you take it is also necessary to check your heart health risks. Excess deposition of calcium can be judged by the coronary artery calcium scores, which indicate risk for heart disease in your body. As it is now believed that calcium supplements may not be heart healthy, it is important to check the risk factors too, so that timely action can be taken.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 7, 2017

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