Do Calcium Supplements Cause Heart Attacks?

A new European study suggests that calcium supplements almost double the risk of having a heart attack, at least in Germans.  You can read the full report in the current issue of Heart.

The medical literature on this issue is a confusing mess.  In other words, lots of conflicting results.

Huge numbers of women in the U.S. are taking calcium supplements either to treat or prevent osteoporosis and the associated broken bones (e.g., hips, wrists, spine).

What I’d like to know, and what nobody knows, is what is the effect of calcium supplementation on average longevity and quality of life.  Maybe I’d accept a higher risk of heart attack if calcium supplementation prolonged lifespan by two years.

In the interest of brevity, I’ll just say that the best way to get your calcium is probably through food rather than supplements.

Shereen Jegtvig has an article at listing foods rich in calcium.

Exercise can also help keep your bones strong and break-resistant.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: If your doctor has you on a calcium supplement, you’d best get his blessing before you stop it.


Filed under Heart Disease, Supplements

8 responses to “Do Calcium Supplements Cause Heart Attacks?

  1. Marly Harris

    Shereen Jegtvig has an article at listing foods rich in calcium.

    Yes to Steve Parker; No to Shereen’s adivce on dairy.

    • Hi, Marly. No mainstream writer can discuss calcium-rich foods w/o mentioning dairy even though so much of the world’s adults can’t digest milk products. I checked at Darya Pino’s and Monica Reinagel’s blogs.


  2. Marly Harris

    Sorry for the typo. I really do speak English. It’s advice. But the thought is paramount and our species does not require dairy. I’m 79 and strong and free of osteoporosis. I eat meat/fat/spices/water and I’m flourishing.

  3. George Henderson

    Yet calcium supplements also reduce all-cause mortality, more significantly than any other supps. Why let the heart police run everything?
    Obviously high Ca intakes antagonise magnesium.
    Using high Ca in the absense of vitamin K2 is unwise.
    And might not supraphysiological Ca intakes and high serum levels downregulate the activation of vitamin D3?
    And surely if vit D and K2 and Magnesium levels are adequate, dietary calcium will be absorbed and go into bones. There’s a lot more goes into bones than just Ca by the way.

    • George, you’re certainly right about the bones. Phosphorus and magnesium are important.
      I hadn’t heard about calcium supplements reducing all-cause mortality. I’m skeptical.


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  5. Sarah P.

    Is it okay if I am taking calcium and a vitamin K2 supplement at the same time?