Calcium Supplements Increase Risk of Heart Attack

It isn’t too often you see an article on a supplement website offering a contradictory than what you may assume they would have, but it is true – calcium supplements have been shown to increase the risk of a heart attack. Science does not lie with this one.

In a new study, researchers examined nearly 24,000 individuals between the ages 35 to 54 and evaluated the association of dietary calcium intake and calcium supplementation with myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke risk and overall cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality. The team found that participants who took a regular calcium supplement increased their risk of having a heart attack by 86% when compared to those who did not receive any calcium supplements [1].

Likewise, two previous studies that were posted in the British Medical Journal found that calcium supplements with or without vitamin D modestly increase the risk of cardiovascular events, especially MI [2] [3].

So, why are these supplements consistently recommended?

When we think of calcium supplement, we may think of calcium like in milk or food, but most calcium supplements contain elemental calcium, which is the same type of calcium that is in limestone, oyster shell, and eggshells.

So, if you wanted to get a calcium supplement, all you have to do is eat some seashells, and you will be set (please don’t do that). Yet, this is precisely the same type of calcium that is in most calcium supplements, and you do not have to be a nutrition expert to see the problem here.

Perhaps an exciting fact to examine is who is promoting the use of elemental calcium supplementation.

For years, the National Osteoporosis Foundation has had a promotional effort pushing the consumption of elemental calcium in supplements. However, their corporate sponsors include elemental calcium manufacturers Oscal and Citrical, so there is an apparent conflict of interest.

Also, the World Health Organization (WHO) developed a new controversial definition of normal bone density in 1994 when it took the 25-year-old adult bone density and set it as the standard, known as the “T-score,” for all women regardless of their age. At 25-years-old, a woman's bone density is at the highest it will ever be, so again, there is a problem here.

This required medical professionals to redefine the healthy and gradual loss of bone mineral density as a disease, essentially giving healthy women worldwide a new condition overnight.

This also caused medical professionals to recommend women that they take unnecessary bone-building drugs and inorganic calcium supplements to help increase bone density by any means necessary, even if their bone density was average for their age because they were told they had osteopenia or osteoporosis.

Further, the number one cause of death in women is heart disease, with heart attacks being the primary cause of morbidity and mortality. So, when you consider that the risk of death as a side effect of a fracture associated with low bone mineral density, that risk is negligible to the increased risk of death from a heart attack from taking elemental calcium supplements.

When you compare it this way, recommending that women take these elemental calcium supplements to make the small chance of death from decreased bone mass while dramatically increasing their chance of a heart attack does not make sense and completely tears apart the justification for promoting osteopenia and osteoporosis prevention.

Most of the problem, though, comes from the elemental calcium itself, because consuming it does not make sense.

Inorganic or element calcium in supplements is not bound to other natural cofactors, such as amino acids, lipids, or glyconutrients that you could receive if you got calcium through food.

Therefore, when you eat straight elemental calcium, your body does not know what to do with it because the other natural cofactors are not able to tell your body where it should be delivered, like the bones. Instead, there can be ectopic calcification [calcium going where you do not want it to go] or osteoblasts [unnaturally accelerated bone cell-division resulting in a shorter bone lifespan].

Or even better, your body tries to free itself from the calcium by pushing it through your digestive tract, which can lead to constipation, or it pushed the calcium through the kidneys, ah… kidney stones. But wait, there is more.

The elemental calcium can end up in the blood, causing hypercalcemia, which can lead to destabilizing natural arterial plaquing and lead to calcium deposits on the interior of the arteries.

Even better, elemental calcium supplementation can contribute to blood vessel clots, hypertension [high blood pressure], or arrhythmias and fibrillation, heart and muscle cramping, or a coronary artery spasm, a well-known trigger of a heart attack.

None of this is a good thing.

I believe this new research should provide the data necessary to put an end to the constant recommending of elemental calcium supplements.

But you may ask, “What if I really do need a calcium supplement?”

You may notice that Healthmasters sells calcium supplements. Healthmasters Ossomag and Ultimate Bone Support are calcium products that are recommended for proper bone density and function.

However, the source of calcium in those products is microcrystalline hydroxyapatite concentrate (MCHC). Calcium as MCHC has those natural co-factors that allow the body to properly absorb and distribute the calcium to the bones, where it belongs. There are also other ingredients that help with absorption, such as vitamin D3, phosphorus, and magnesium.

With all of these components, the calcium can effectively be delivered to the bones.

Now, I would only recommend these products to people who really need calcium and have severe calcium deficiencies in their bone. If you are just interested in casual, daily calcium intake, drinking a glass of milk or eating a handful of almonds a day is fine.

If you have any questions about Healthmasters’ Ossomag or Ultimate Bone Support, please feel free to call our office at 800.726.1834