November 14, 2016 – Calcium Supplements and Heart Disease


Anchor lead: What are the dangers of supplemental calcium? Elizabeth Tracey reports

If you’re not a fan of dairy products you may think that taking a calcium supplement is a good idea, but research by Erin Michos, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues may change your mind. Michos looked at the impact of calcium supplements on people who began the study with no evidence of calcification in their heart arteries.

Michos: We focused our attention on the 1500 individuals who had started out with a score of zero.  They had no atherosclerosis at the beginning of the study, they all underwent a questionnaire about supplements they were taking. They had a repeat CT scan 10 years later, and we found that even after you took into account known risk factors for atherosclerosis, individuals who used calcium supplements were 22% more likely to have the new development of calcium in their heart arteries among those who started out with a score of zero.  :30

Michos says she is telling her patients to try to get calcium in foods and avoid supplements.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.