Calcium Supplementation: Is Protecting Against Osteoporosis Counter to Protecting against Cardiovascular Disease?
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Calcium is the dominant mineral in bone and is a shortfall nutrient in the diet. For those consuming inadequate dietary calcium, calcium supplements have been a standard strategy for prevention of osteoporosis. Recently, calcium supplementation has been linked to both increased and decreased cardiovascular disease risk creating considerable uncertainty. Moreover, recent reports have shed uncertainty over the effectiveness of calcium supplements to reduce risk of fracture. The evidence for calcium supplementation effects to both reduce risk of fracture and increase coronary heart disease and mortality are reviewed. Although the importance of good calcium nutrition is well known, determining the advantage of calcium supplementation to either bone or heart health has been hampered by poor subject compliance and study design flaws. At present, the current Recommended Dietary Allowances for calcium still appear to be a good target with potential risks for chronic disease if intakes fall too short or greatly exceed these recommendations.
KeywordsCalcium Cardiovascular disease Osteoporosis Vascular calcification Myocardial infarction
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Conflict of Interest
C. M. Weaver declares that she has no conflicts of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
All studies by the author involving animal and/or human subjects were performed after approval by the appropriate institutional review boards. When required, written informed consent was obtained from all participants.
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