Calcium supplements don’t cause heart attacks, researchers find

West Lafayette, IN – A high-calcium diet, including use of supplements, does not increase an individual’s risk of developing heart problems, according to a new study from Purdue University.

As part of the six-month study, one group of pigs was fed a normal diet, another group a high-calcium diet from supplements, and a third group a high-calcium diet from dairy products. Neither high-calcium group showed an increase of calcium in the arteries.

These results contradict recent reports that consuming up to 2,000 milligrams of calcium a day is a risk factor for heart attacks. Such accounts were based on self-reports or come from correlations or secondary analysis – and could do more harm than good, according to Connie Weaver, study co-author and head of Purdue’s Department of Nutrition Science.

“The recent concern that calcium supplements were a risk factor led people to stop supplementing their diets. This is a great concern because supplementation is essential to fill a void to meet the daily recommended amount of calcium for strong bones,” Weaver said in a press release.

Calcium is important for strong bones, and the risk of osteoporosis increases with age and with a low-calcium intake. The National Institute of Medicine recommends an intake of as much as 2,000 milligrams of calcium a day for seniors.

The study was published online Aug. 13 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.