Calcium linked to increased heart risk?

In 2010, a meta-analysis of data from a dozen clinical trials, including the Women’s Health Initiative, found calcium supplementation to be associated with a 20-30% increase in heart attack risk in older women. 🙁

Oh. no. Why do researchers/doctors make it so hard on us? They recommend this, and that… and then change their minds. grrr (yes, that’s a growl). Medicine is an always evolving science, and we must learn to be patient and accept new guidelines. Be grateful you live in an era with medical advancements, helping us live healthier lives. (That’s my two cents)

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So it’s kind of a catch 22 (what is a catch 22, anyways?)… protect your bones or protect your heart? Most doctors agree, you can protect both! yay!

From the research:

  1. Calcium intake through diet did not increase the risk of heart attack, therefore get your recommended calcium from your DIET!
  2. If your diet is still inadequate in calcium (come on people, try harder :))… talk to your doctor first before supplementing with calcium.
  3. Research found no increased risk when calcium was supplemented with vitamin D, therefore if you must take calcium supplements make sure they include vitamin D.

So, how much calcium do I need?

Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Calcium
AgeMaleFemalePregnantLactating
0–6 months*200 mg200 mg
7–12 months*260 mg260 mg
1–3 years700 mg700 mg
4–8 years1,000 mg1,000 mg
9–13 years1,300 mg1,300 mg
14–18 years1,300 mg1,300 mg1,300 mg1,300 mg
19–50 years1,000 mg1,000 mg1,000 mg1,000 mg
51–70 years1,000 mg1,200 mg
71+ years1,200 mg1,200 mg

* Adequate Intake (AI)

Selected Food Sources of Calcium
FoodMilligrams (mg) per servingPercent DV*
Yogurt, plain, low fat, 8 ounces41542
Orange juice, calcium-fortified, 6 ounces37538
Yogurt, fruit, low fat, 8 ounces338–38434–38
Mozzarella, part skim, 1.5 ounces33333
Sardines, canned in oil, with bones, 3 ounces32533
Cheddar cheese, 1.5 ounces30731
Milk, nonfat, 8 ounces**29930
Milk, reduced-fat (2% milk fat), 8 ounces29329
Milk, buttermilk, 8 ounces282–35028–35
Milk, whole (3.25% milk fat), 8 ounces27628
Tofu, firm, made with calcium sulfate, ½ cup***25325
Salmon, pink, canned, solids with bone, 3 ounces18118
Cottage cheese, 1% milk fat, 1 cup13814
Tofu, soft, made with calcium sulfate, ½ cup***13814
Instant breakfast drink, various flavors and brands, powder prepared with water, 8 ounces105–25010–25
Frozen yogurt, vanilla, soft serve, ½ cup10310
Ready-to-eat cereal, calcium-fortified, 1 cup100–1,00010–100
Turnip greens, fresh, boiled, ½ cup9910
Kale, fresh, cooked, 1 cup949
Kale, raw, chopped, 1 cup909
Ice cream, vanilla, ½ cup848
Soy beverage, calcium-fortified, 8 ounces80–5008–50
Chinese cabbage, bok choi, raw, shredded, 1 cup747
Bread, white, 1 slice737
Pudding,  chocolate, ready to eat, refrigerated, 4 ounces556
Tortilla, corn, ready-to-bake/fry, one 6″ diameter465
Tortilla, flour, ready-to-bake/fry, one 6″ diameter323
Sour cream, reduced fat, cultured, 2 tablespoons313
Bread, whole-wheat, 1 slice303
Broccoli, raw, ½ cup212
Cheese, cream, regular, 1 tablespoon141

* DV = Daily Value. DVs were developed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help consumers compare the nutrient contents among products within the context of a total daily diet. The DV for calcium is 1,000 mg for adults and children aged 4 years and older.

Protect your bones & your heart, and get your calcium from your diet. 🙂

References:

1 Comment

  1. Natalie McKee says:

    Oh wow that is interesting, and kind of disturbing, ugh!! I mean a heart attack would stink, but do I really have to give up my calcium gummies?!? I love those things!! Just kidding, just kidding, I will definitely work on getting more from my diet! Fro yo? Yes please. I am kind of wondering about the risk when taken with Vitamin D …because all supplements I have seen do in fact also have vitamin D? I wonder if there is a specific amount it should contain? Either way, thanks for sharing! Very interesting, and informative as alwaysss:)

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