Calcium Supplements And Myocardial Infarction

Once again a report surfaced that put terror in many people’s thinking.  This time it is calcium supplementation.  A recent meta-analysis study suggests that calcium supplements can increase the risk for myocardial infarction.

Image Courtesy: Walter Groesel
Image Courtesy: Walter Groesel

I have read three reviews evaluating the studies. One says that “vitamin D supplements at a dose of approximately 1000 IU’s  per day were associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease. The report also said that “there is no compelling evidence that the combination of calcium with vitamin D significantly increases the risk for cardiovascular events, and physicians may continue to recommend this therapy to postmenopausal women unless new research demonstrates an increased level of risk.”

The original research was done as a 15 randomized blinded placebo-controlled trials.  Dr. Mark Bolland from the University of Aukland in New Zealand and colleagues evaluated calcium use (at least 500 mg. daily) in more than 12,000 patients older than 40 years of age.  Researchers did not include any trials looking at calcium plus vitamin D.

The Women’s Health Initiative evaluation of combined calcium and vitamin D found no effect on heart attack and stroke.  A recent systematic review in Annals of Internal Medicine suggest that moderate to high dose of vitamin D may reduce cardiovascular risk, whereas calcium alone had no significant effect.

Dr. Colgan from the Colgan Institute in Canada sent this notice out saying that “A careful examination of the study methods, shows major flaws in the conclusion.  In particular, studies that supplemented with other nutrients along with calcium were OMITTED from the results.  Dr. Colgan emphasizes that single nutrients taken on their own.  This can cause deficiencies in other nutrients.  In particular, Vitamin D and magnesium help protect against heart attacks.”

It is also important to know how much vitamin K we are consuming and if we can be tested through blood work to know our levels for this important vitamin.  Not only does this vitamin play an important role in bone health and blood clotting, it works to keep calcium out of arteries and into the bone.  It is vitamin K-2 that reduces risk of arterial calcification.  Vitamin K-1 and K2 increase bone quality, but it is K-2 that is more bioavailable, longer lasting, and provides for greater increase in bone strength.

I have had my blood levels run for vitamin D and calcium.  Recently I have been taking 5,000 I.U.’s of vitamin D.  Not all supplements seem to raise it up much, so this is still an experiment.  Vitamin D is available by prescription here in the U.S. which would be a pharmaceutical grade.  I have taken 1200 mg. of calcium for many, many years.  This product has 125 IU’s for vitamin D.  I have just started taking magnesium citrate in powdered form.  This contains 450 mg.  While this is what has been recommended for me, I urge all to have their blood levels checked and have your doctor or practitioner recommend the amount needed for your best needs.

All fat soluble vitamins should be taken with a good fat.  Vitamins A, D, E, F, K are fat soluble.

Please don’t jump to the conclusion that one study is the end all end all!  More information should be examined.  Fortunately, other researchers pick up on the flaws!


Dr. Colgan, Colgan Institute Canada Ltd.

Vega, Charles P, M.D., Medscape Family Medicine.  Calcium Supplements and Myocardial Infarction: The Evidence Grows. October 22, 2010

Fryhofer, Sandra A. M.D. Medscape Internal Medicine. Rethinking Calcium: Bone Health or Heartache? October 25, 2010.  The reference for the Women’s Health Initiative is listed at the end of this article.  Plus other valuable references