Calcium supplements have long been touted as a natural and therefore safe alternative in the treatment of postmenopausal bone loss and osteoporosis. However, data from a recent study suggests that a strict calcium supplement regimen may not demonstrate the same metabolic effects as calcium in food. Of significant concern, however, is the recent association that has been established between said supplements and the development of catastrophic complications. Subsequently, patients receiving calcium supplement treatment may double their risk of heart attack incidence.
Calcium is the body’s most abundant mineral and plays a vital role in the preservation and strength of bones. Accordingly, over 99 percent of the body’s calcium is retained within bones and teeth, with the rest being stored in blood, muscle, and other tissues. However, many people simply lack, or do not consume enough calcium to maintain a strong and healthy bone structure. Subsequently, their bones are compromised and subjected to an increased risk of postmenopausal bone loss, osteoporosis and similar calcium deficiency complications.
In order to avoid complications such as these from happening, people consume calcium supplements to make up for the impending deficiency. However, researchers have recently warned that calcium supplements should be taken with caution after new findings acknowledged that their consumption could potentially double the risk of heart attack incidence. According to the study, published in Heart, the rate in which calcium supplements deposit the mineral into the bloodstream may initiate a change in the blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack.
The misconception that calcium supplements are a safe alternative to the calcium received from a food source continues to raise concern in the healthcare community. “Calcium supplements have been widely embraced by doctors and the public, on the grounds that they are a natural and therefore safe way of preventing osteoporotic fractures, “ said the researchers, led by Professor Sabine Rohrmann, from Zurich University’s institute of social and preventative medicine. “It is now becoming clear that taking this micronutrient in one or two daily [doses] is not natural, in that it does not reproduce the same metabolic effects as calcium in food,” they added.
Included in Rohrmann’s study were 24,000 participants, each of whom were selected from one of the German arms of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study conducted in Heidelberg. The study quizzed each participant, aged 35 to 64, on whether or not they regularly took vitamin or mineral supplements prior to having their health tracked for the 11 year trial. Over the 11 year span, researchers witnessed a total of 354 heart attacks, 260 strokes, and 267 deaths that were associated with adverse cardiac anomalies.
Upon compiling the collective data, Rohrmann’s team discovered that those who took calcium supplements on a regular basis were 86% more likely to have a heart attack than those who didn’t use any supplements. Compounding the already staggering results, was the data collected from those who only took calcium supplements. Subsequently, those who only used calcium supplements were more than twice as likely to have a heart attack. According to Rohrmann, “This study suggests that increasing calcium intake from diet might not confer significant cardiovascular benefits, while calcium supplements, which might raise heart attack risk, should be taken with caution.”
While this study suggests an increased risk of heart attack in those who take calcium supplements, there remain proponents of the mineral who believe that the benefits outweigh the risks. According to Dr. Taylor Wallace, senior director of scientific & regulatory affairs at the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), “The bottom line is consumers need calcium, and particularly for the elderly, who are at such great risk of falls and fractures due to weak bones, removing calcium supplements from their diets could put them at an even greater risk for those kinds of problems.”
Do I Have a Calcium Supplement Lawsuit?
The trial lawyers at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP have decades of experience navigating through complex legislative and regulatory issues and litigating high stakes cases all over the nation. Our law firm focuses on the representation of plaintiffs in calcium supplement lawsuits. We are currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
If you or a loved one has been injured after taking a calcium supplement, you may be entitled to financial compensation. For a free case review, please click the link below or call toll free 24 hrs/day 1-(949) 557-5800.