Does Calcium Supplementation Increase Cardiovascular Risk?


Calcium supplementation is widely used for the prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and in men. While there has been ongoing debate regarding its effectiveness in fracture prevention, the underlying assumption has been that, even if it was not particularly effective, at least it was safe. The recent finding of the Auckland Calcium Study that myocardial infarctions were more common in women randomised to calcium, calls this assumption into question, and consideration of vascular event data from other calcium trials does not refute the Auckland findings.

Meta-analyses of these data will be necessary to settle this matter. It is already accepted that calcium supplements increase vascular risk in patients with renal compromise, even in those not yet requiring dialysis. Also, there is substantial epidemiological evidence that serum calcium levels in the upper part of the normal range are a risk factor for vascular disease, and that calcium supplements acutely elevate serum calcium – a combination of findings that lends plausibility to supplementation increasing vascular risk.

Since there are reasonable grounds for doubting the safety of calcium supplements, and since the evidence for their efficacy in fracture prevention remains marginal, we suggest there should be a reappraisal of their role in the management of osteoporosis, with a greater emphasis on agents known to prevent fractures.

PMID: 20184602 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2010 Feb 23. [Epub ahead of print] Does Calcium Supplementation Increase Cardiovascular Risk? Reid IR, Bolland MJ, Grey A. Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.


  1. Dear Sirs,
    For as long as I have subscribed on various newletters with Alternative Medicine I have been fed with the recommendation to take supplements of Calcium and Magnesium at doses of 500-1000 mg per day. Is it now to be considered totally wrong due to the cardiovascular risk, the one these two minerals were supposed to taken for?? Does supplementation of Calcium automatically lead to calcification of the arteries? And should then the supplementation be cancelled or be reduced to “how much”?
    I am very keen to have an answer. Kind regards Jan Olof Vennerfors, Lerum, Sweden.

  2. Dear Jan,
    We recommend up to 600 mg. per day of supplemental calcium when somebody has osteoporosis and is taking OsteoPhase to direct where calcium should go and be utilized. It stands to reason that when somebody has osteoporosis, there is dysregulation of calcium use and not lack of calcium. When calcium is not regulated correctly, where is it going? Soft tissues, arteries, heart valves?
    Some research is beginning on this issue per this link:
    “The researchers noted that previous research had suggested that taking calcium supplements might protect against vascular disease by lowering levels of bad cholesterol in the blood. They said that because calcium supplements raise blood calcium levels, this possibly accelerates the formation of deposits in the arteries that could lead to heart attack.

    The new results “are not conclusive but suggest that high calcium intakes might have an adverse effect on vascular health,” the researchers wrote.”

    You may also be able to check all research on this question using key words at the following comprehensive database of all health research published in English:

    Just put your questions or key words into the search engine.

    With regards,

    John Steinke, L.Ac.

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