The link between calcium supplements and heart health

By Canada Cloud Pharmacy | Published Wednesday 28 April 2021

Calcium is an essential mineral required for healthy bones, working of your heart muscles and teeth. The daily requirement of calcium in young adults is around 1000 mg, while older people with weak bones need 1200 mg daily. Most of us derive the daily calcium from calcium-rich food items. However, there is a gap between the calcium taken from the food and the actual requirement in some instances. Doctors often prescribe calcium supplements to bridge the gap.

For a decade, research studies have been conducted to find the nexus between calcium supplements and heart disease. Although several studies indicate that calcium circulating in the blood can increase the risk of heart disease, more studies are needed to clarify.

What is the role of calcium in the formation of plaque?

Atherosclerosis or building up of plaque on the walls of the arteries eventually leads to several cardiovascular events, including a heart attack. Recent studies indicate that plaque is formed of fatty deposits and cholesterol. Still, the mineralization of calcium on the walls of the arteries hardens the plaque. As we age, the deposition of calcium into the arteries increases. Such narrowed arteries lead to a heart attack or coronary artery disease.

Can calcium supplements increase the chances of a heart attack?

Studies indicate that calcium that enters the blood from the calcium supplements shows an increased concentration of circulating calcium in the blood than the calcium derived from the diet. This circulating calcium can deposit into the heart arteries forming the deposits.

There are mixed results from the studies that tried to establish a connection between calcium supplements and heart attack. Some studies showed that calcium supplements cause cardiac events in patients suffering from kidney disease and other people who took calcium supplements regularly. Another research shows that calcium supplements did not increase the risk of heart-related events.

Due to the lack of proper scientific evidence, you may take the optimum amount of calcium supplements per your doctor’s advice. Doctors recommend taking the necessary calcium from foods such as cheese, yogurt, tofu, and vegetables. Many doctors have altered treatment for weak bones by giving phosphate binders instead of calcium salts.

How do I know I have calcium deposits in my blood vessels?

Calcium score screening is a diagnostic method used to determine the calcium deposits in the plaque that narrow the arteries. A computed tomography scan (CT scan) measures the calcium in the plaque and provides the results in a score. A medium score suggests that you may be at a high risk of heart attack due to calcification in the plaque.

If you are unable to get enough calcium from the food, you may take supplements. For the best advice, talk to your doctor regarding your calcium supplementation and the risk of a heart attack.

 

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