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Home Industry News Calcium pills raise heart risks

Calcium pills raise heart risks

16th January 2008

Calcium supplements may increase the risk of heart attack in healthy postmenopausal women, a new study suggests.

Postmenopausal women are sometimes advised to take these supplements to maintain bone health and some studies suggest they might protect against vascular disease by lowering levels of bad cholesterol in the blood.

But a new study from Australian researchers found that heart attacks were more commonly reported in a group of women taking calcium supplements.

The occurrence of any three vascular events (heart attack, stroke or sudden death) was also more common in this group.

They studied 1,471 healthy postmenopausal women aged 55 years of over who were randomly allocated a daily calcium supplement or placebo.

Dietary calcium intake was assessed and women were seen every six months for five years when any adverse affects were recorded.

After seeing a higher number of heart attacks in the group taking calcium the researchers checked hospital admissions and reviewed all death certificates for study participants to identify any unreported events.

After taking these into account, heart attacks remained more common in the calcium group.

Writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the researchers conclude that further studies need to be undertaken before calcium supplements are definitively linked to increased risk of heart attack.

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