Calcium pills can harm men’s hearts?
Almost unthinkable but this is a new finding based on a study of close to 400,000 middle aged Americans initiated in 1995-1996. It shows that men who take calcium tablets are more likely to die of heart disease within the next 12 years than those who do not take extra calcium in supplement form. This conclusion was reached by researchers at the National Cancer Institute in the USA.
Volunteers answered queries on their lifestyles, general health and diet, including use of supplements. Researchers then tracked the number who died and the causes of death over 12 years. About half of the men and more than two-thirds of the women said they took calcium supplements or multivitamins containing calcium at the outset.
During the study period, almost 12,000 people (3%) died of cardiovascular disease. Researchers found that men who took 1000mg of calcium per day or more are 20% more likely to die from heart-related diseases than those who didn’t. The researchers took into account men’s age, race, weight and other measures of diet and lifestyle. However, there was NO link between calcium supplements and heart disease deaths in women.
Calcium build-up in the arteries and veins may affect cardiovascular risks in some people, said Dr Xiao Qian who is one of the researchers. However, the findings do NOT prove a cause-and-effect link between the supplements and heart diseases. Dr Xiao said “Although we observed an increased risk of death from health disease in men who reported taking supplements containing calcium, we cannot say for sure that it was a result of using those supplements”.