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Can Calcium Supplements Increase Your Heart Disease Risk? All explained

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Jiya Saini
Jiya Saini is a Journalist and Writer at Revyuh.com. She has been working with us since January 2018. After studying at Jamia Millia University, she is fascinated by smart lifestyle and smart living. She covers technology, games, sports and smart living, as well as good experience in press relations. She is also a freelance trainer for macOS and iOS, and In the past, she has worked with various online news magazines in India and Singapore. Email: jiya (at) revyuh (dot) com

Is it ok to take calcium supplements? Who should be careful about taking calcium supps? Is the risk different in men and women? Here’s everything you need to know about…

Calcium is a mineral that is important in many tissues, particularly the skeletal system. In fact, your bones and teeth store more than 99 percent of the calcium in your body. Adults should consume at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium every day to maintain optimal bone health.

Calcium supplements are taken by a large number of people on a regular basis. Calcium can also be used to treat acid reflux, osteoporosis, and simply enhance blood calcium levels.

But how does calcium affect the body in other ways? Is it possible that taking too much could be harmful to your health? Over 40% of adults in the United States are estimated to take calcium-containing dietary supplements. Is it possible that some of these folks are more susceptible to particular complications?

If calcium supplements increase your risk of heart disease, read on.

What is the impact of calcium on my heart health?

Calcium has an impact on organs other than your bones and teeth, such as your heart. Every heartbeat allows calcium to enter the muscle cells of your heart. This aids in the coordination of electrical signals that control the rate at which your heart beats. Calcium also aids the heart in contracting and pumping blood throughout the body. Calcium is involved in the contraction of all muscles in the body.

Calcium levels that are too high can be harmful. Abnormal electrical signals can be caused by too much or too little calcium. It’s possible that this will cause irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia).

Is calcium linked to heart disease?

Calcium supplements have been linked to an increased risk of cardiac issues, including heart attacks. Some experts believe that consuming too much calcium can cause calcification of the heart’s blood arteries.

Minerals such as calcium build up in the walls of your veins and arteries, causing blood vessel (or vascular) calcification. This includes the heart’s blood vessels (coronary arteries). Vascular calcification can obstruct blood flow to the heart, resulting in heart disease.

Atherosclerosis is commonly accompanied by calcification of the arteries. The formation of fatty deposits — or plaques — on the inside walls of your arteries is known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis increases your chances of having a heart attack, a stroke, or perhaps dying.

What do the research indicate about calcium’s heart effect?

Calcium — and calcium supplements in particular — have been studied to see if they have a harmful effect on the heart. Calcium supplements were associated with an increased risk of a heart attack in a major meta-analysis published in 2010.

Even in those who took calcium supplements, the total risk (absolute risk) of a heart attack was remained quite low. In a study of almost 8,000 people, 143 people who took a calcium supplement had a heart attack, compared to 111 people who did not take calcium.

10-year follow-up research of over 5,000 persons looked into whether high calcium consumption was linked to artery hardening (atherosclerosis). According to the findings, a high calcium intake of 1,400 mg or more may reduce the incidence of atherosclerosis. This was especially true if a person’s calcium was only derived from food. Taking calcium supplements, on the other hand, was linked to an increased risk of blood vessel calcification. The researchers concluded that while dietary calcium may protect the heart, calcium supplements may pose a risk to the heart.

Other studies have discovered that taking calcium supplements does not increase the risk of developing heart disease. One study indicated that calcium intake of up to 2,500 mg per day was not linked to an increased risk of heart disease. This can be calcium from food, supplements, or a combination of the two.

Does the risk in men and women vary?

Calcium supplementation may put women at a higher risk of heart disease than men.

According to a major study, calcium supplements of 1,000 mg per day may increase the risk of heart disease in women who have gone through menopause. Women who consumed 700 to 1,000 mg of calcium per day were at an even higher risk. However, it’s unknown how serious these dangers are.

Another study of nearly 36,000 postmenopausal women found that taking calcium and vitamin D supplements together did not increase the risk of heart disease. However, it’s worth noting that the research in this review looked at the effects of supplementation on fracture risk rather than heart disease.

Who should avoid taking calcium supplements?

There isn’t enough research to say whether calcium supplements increase the risk of heart disease. Calcium supplements may increase your risk of heart disease, but we don’t know for sure. Still, it’s possible that getting your calcium via food is the best option. Some people, however, may require calcium supplements due to the importance of calcium for body and bone health.

Some people are more likely to have calcium difficulties than others, so always check with your doctor before starting a calcium supplement. People with kidney difficulties and those who have had kidney stones in the past may be more susceptible to side effects.

Calcium — such as calcium acetate — may be used to reduce phosphorus levels if your kidneys aren’t functioning properly. However, do not take more calcium than is recommended. Calcium can bond with phosphorus and accumulate in your blood vessels, including the heart, if you have too much of it. Consult your doctor or a dietician to find out how much calcium is suggested for you.

People who have had kidney stones before may be aware that the most common cause is calcium mixing with oxalate in the urine. Oxalate is a naturally occurring chemical found in many meals that can cause urine crystals to develop. Supplemental calcium increases the likelihood of calcium combining with oxalate. However, calcium should not be avoided in your diet. Getting adequate calcium via your diet may help you avoid kidney stones.

Is it safe to take calcium supplements if I’ve had heart problems before?

We can’t say for sure. According to research, not everyone with heart disease should avoid calcium supplements. Furthermore, some research suggests that consuming adequate calcium in your diet can help prevent atherosclerosis. Before taking any calcium supplement, it’s crucial to speak with your doctor first. Although calcium is necessary for bone health, too much calcium can have dangerous consequences.

Image Credit: Getty

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