— by Jeff Jurmain, MA
File this under the “put your mind at ease” category.
In the blood vessels leading to and from the heart, deposits of calcium have been linked to blocked arteries. This, of course, greatly increases the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
It is no wonder that some people have great concern about taking calcium supplements in order to maintain bone strength. That goes especially for women, who are at greatest susceptibility for osteoporosis.
A study published in the journal “Menopause” addressed these concerns. Can taking supplements help create these calcium mineral deposits in your blood vessels? The short answer is: no.
Researchers determined that moderate doses of calcium — and vitamin D — supplements don’t raise women’s coronary artery calcium levels. For this study, the researchers used cardiac computed tomography imaging to measure calcium in arteries in 754 women who were aged 50 to 59 at the time. The numbers showed that calcium scores were similar among women who took calcium (1,000 milligrams a day) plus vitamin D3 (400 International Units daily) for an average of seven years as well as those who took placebo.
What this means is that we can be reassured that taking moderate supplements of calcium and vitamin D (which are very important nutrients) does not lead to calcium build-up in the arteries. Therefore, women need not avoid these supplements and sacrifice bone health due to concern about such a risk.
Calcium supplements are predominantly used to help prevent osteoporosis and slow down bone loss in those who are suffering it. The biggest beneficiaries are postmenopausal women. But that’s not the extent of the supplement’s therapeutic powers.
The famous mineral is also believed to reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), including mood swings, headaches and bloating. Calcium can improve cholesterol levels as well, lowering LDL (“bad”) levels while increasing HDL (“good”) levels in the blood. There is also fairly strong evidence that having a high calcium intake could help shield the body from colon cancer.
Calcium supplements are also important for those who don’t eat a lot of dairy products and may be low in their daily intake. Whatever the reason you might take supplements, rest assured they won’t be blocking your arteries.