Studies about diet are always somewhat questionable, an article in the NYTimes says, when they rely on self-reports. Still, the possibility raised by a new report is just scary:
The latest study, published online in the journal Heart, was the largest and most detailed to date on calcium intake and disease, involving more than 24,000 people who were taking part in a large continuing analysis called the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition. The subjects, ages 35 to 64 at the start of the research, were followed for 11 years and questioned about things like their health, their food intake and their supplement use.
In an attempt to rule out or minimize the effects of other factors that contribute to heart disease and could complicate the results, the authors took into account age, physical activity, body mass index, diet, and alcohol and cigarette use …
But looking specifically at supplements presented a more alarming picture. People who got their calcium almost exclusively from supplements were more than twice as likely to have a heart attack compared with those who took no supplements. The researchers speculated that taking calcium in supplement form causes blood levels of the mineral to quickly spike to harmful levels, whereas getting it from food may be less dangerous because the calcium is absorbed in smaller amounts at various points throughout the day.
This is round three on calcium supplements. We’ve also looked at round 1,“no, you almost certainly don’t need extra calcium, ” and round 2, “yes, you probably do need extra calcium”.