What I’m Reading: The Latest On Calcium Supplements

Are you still taking a daily mega dose of calcium to prevent bone loss? It was advice that we dutifully followed for years. But recent research findings have led to updated guidelines. If you’re confused about if, when, and how much Calcium you should be taking, these articles will help.

Calcium Could Harm Women’s Hearts- Harvard Women’s Health Watch (May 2013, subscription )

If you’re dutifully taking a big dose of calcium every day, consider the findings of a Swedish study that followed more than 61,000 women for two decades. It showed that those who took more than 1400 mg of calcium per day from diet and supplements were at higher risk of death from all causes. The increase in risk for women who consumed 1400 mg of calcium from diet alone was more moderate. This study relied on women’s recollections of their diet, so it might not be that accurate. Nevertheless, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) does not recommend that post-menopausal women take daily calcium supplements for fracture prevention.

Calcium in the Spotlight – Berkeley Wellness Online

There’s no dispute about the importance of getting enough calcium- especially for menopausal women at risk for osteoporosis. As shown in the clinical trial summarized above, the issue is how we get the calcium: from supplements, diet or both? This article provides a good overview on calcium, explaining how much is too much, what the latest guidelines say and which foods offer the most of this important nutrient.

By the way, Calcium isn’t the only bone-building nutrient you should be consuming. Take a look at Dr. Susan Brown’s list of “20 Essential Bone-building Nutrients.