How much is too much Calcium?
A recent study revealed that more than 1400 mg of calcium per day actually doubled your risk of cardiovascular disease and also increased your risk of kidney stones. More importantly they found that people who used calcium supplements regularly were 86% more likely to suffer a heart attack than people who obtained their calcium from a calcium rich diet.
It is believed that the heart muscle and the intima (or interior wall of arteries) may calcify leading to distorted or turbulent flow dynamics. The ideal new recommended dosage is between 600 and 800 mg per day. Calcium is important to prevent osteoporosis (brittle bones).
The findings are based on a study of the calcium intake of 23,980 men and women in Heidelberg, Germany. The study was called the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. Researchers checked participants’ health for 11 years afterwards, during which time 354 of them had a heart attack and 260 a stroke and there were 267 associated deaths. They also tracked how much calcium they consumed from any source.
The four coauthors of the study at Zurich University concluded that those taking calcium supplements had a significantly higher risk of heart attacks. Or to state it another way, people not taking calcium supplements had a lower risk of heart attack in comparison with those with higher calcium consumption. These conclusions are the opposite of what most people believe. The study was done at Zurich University’s institute of social and preventative medicine.
Those who obtained their calcium exclusively from supplements were 2.7 times more likely than non-users to experience a heart attack, they say in their research paper, published in the Medical Journal Heart.
The newest recommendation is to place less emphasis on supplemental calcium which should not exceed more than 800 mg of supplemental calcium per day and instead focus on a diet rich in calcium. You get calcium by including vitamin D in your diet as well eating foods rich in calcium such as:
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Dark leafy greens like spinach, collard greens, kale and, turnips
- Fortified orange juice
- Fortified soymilk (fortified with calcium – check the label)
- Enriched grains and breads