Tuesday, April 9, 2013

In the News: Calcium and Cardiovascular Disease Risks

A recent study published in the British Medical Journal looked at the impact of dietary calcium intake on cardiovascular disease. Results suggested that women consuming more than 1400mg of calcium per day were at increased risk for cardiovascular disease and death from all causes, when compared to women consuming 600-1000mg per day. Further, of those women consuming more than 1400mg per day, those who took a calcium supplement (as part of the 1400mg) had an even greater risk -- more than 2.5 times the risk of death from all causes.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance for Calcium from the US Food and Nutrition Board is 1000-1200mg per day for healthy adults.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and is naturally found in the following foods:

  • Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.)
  • Fish: salmon (bones in), sardines
  • Soy milk (fortified)
  • Orange Juice (fortified)
  • Tofu
  • Kale, Cabbage, Turnip Greens
  • Broccoli
  • Cereals (fortified)

It is essential for a variety of daily body processes:

  • Bone health
  • Vascular (blood vessel) contraction and dilation
  • Muscle function
  • Nerve transmission
  • Hormonal secretion

The key take-away: More calcium is not necessarily better for your health. Aim to get your daily calcium needs from a varied diet with plenty of calcium-rich foods and refrain from taking a calcium supplement unless specifically prescribed by your primary care physician.

Read more about Calcium at the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements.

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