Cardiovascular Safety of Calcium Supplements

  • Ian R. ReidEmail author


Analyses of all cardiovascular event data available from all trials using calcium supplements alone have demonstrated a significant increase in the risk of myocardial infarction. When data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) is evaluated, the same adverse effect is apparent in those who were not already taking calcium supplements at the time of randomization. Meta-analyses of these WHI data with those of other trials which studied calcium with or without vitamin D confirm that the risk of myocardial infarction is increased by 24 % and that of stroke by 15 % with the use of calcium supplements. While there is not a comparable set of trials using calcium-rich foods as an intervention, observational data do not suggest that dietary calcium is a risk for cardiovascular disease. Therefore, the use of calcium supplements for prevention of osteoporosis is no longer appropriate in most situations, since it causes more adverse events than it prevents. Instead, we should advise our patients as to how they can obtain calcium intakes in the range of 600–1,000 mg/day from a balanced diet.


Calcium Myocardial infarction Stroke Vascular calcification 



Ian Reid has acted as a consultant to Sanofi


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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