Feb 072013
 

The good news is that there is no connection between calcium supplement and heart disease in women, and there is no connection between calcium from food and heart disease.

The problem for men is when we take more than 1,000 mg of calcium in the form of a supplement. If we men do that, we are 20% more likely to suffer heart disease compared to men who don’t take calcium supplements. This is the conclusion of evidence that comes from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study that has followed the health of almost 400,000 men and women since 1995.

This study was not a randomized study, which means that there could be other factors other than calcium supplements that may explain the increased risk of heart disease. However, there are also other studies being conducted that are showing a concern about calcium supplements and heart disease in men.

The bottom line is that it is much healthier for men to get our calcium from food rather than from supplements.

The USDA National Nutrient Database for Calcium provides an excellent list of foods that have naturally occurring calcium in real food. Excellent food sources of calcium are low fat milk and yogurt, soymilk, dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and sardines packed with their bones.

The problem with calcium is when it is not completely absorbed into the bloodstream, and starts to calcify organs (kidney stones), joints (arthritis) and arteries in the form of arterial plague. The medical community and the mineral supplement industry, unfortunately, does not stress enough that calcium must be balanced with magnesium. One of the functions of magnesium in our body is to keep calcium from calcifying our tissues, arteries and joints.

Again using the USDA National Nutrient Database for Magnesium shows that buckwheat, oat bran, whole grain wheat, spinach, pumpkin seeds, black beans and nuts are excellent sources of magnesium. If you can’t get enough from foods, try a magnesium supplement. Magnesium chloride is considered by some to be the most bio-available. Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD – author of the book “The Magnesium Miracle” – takes magnesium in the form of magnesium citrate and magnesium taurate. Magnesium oxide is less absorbable, but is widely available and inexpensive.

For men, it is best to stay on the side of caution and try to get our daily calcium needs from food. And as an added caution, taking a magnesium supplement will help prevent even natural forms of calcium from causing medical problems with our heart, kidneys and bones.

Sources:

Harvard Health Publications: High Calcium Intake From Supplements Linked to Heart Disease in Men

Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD: The Magnesium Miracle