That Calcium Supplement Might Be Killing You

This Just In 10

supplementsIt’s happened again. Now you can put calcium on the list as one more thing we thought was good for us but could actually be killing us. First we are told that after a “certain” age, we need more calcium or our bones will start crumbling. It's among the many vitamins, hormones, and minerals we are encouraged to take after 40 so that we can maintain our vigor and avoid a hip-breaking, hunchback existence. We happily oblige and start wearing comfortable shoes and popping supplements like they are our salvation. Little did we know, we may be doing more harm than good.

Just as we are getting the hang of what we’re supposed to do to keep ourselves from shriveling up and turning into prunes, the rules change. In a recent study, it was discovered that women who get too much calcium via supplements (1,400 mg a day or more) are twice as likely to die from cardiovascular disease. But even those who take 600 mg or less are also at an increased risk of death. Talk about can’t win for losing.

Apparently, now, instead of playing this crazy ass game of dance monkey dance to the health gods, jumping through hoops, and bending over backwards to stay young and healthy, we are expected to simply pick our poison. So the question is, ladies, would you prefer to die of a heart attack or develop your very own dowagers hump? Talk about unfair!

It is inevitable that the more research and studies that take place, the more frequently we will find out more supposedly good things are not good for us at all. We may not be able to stop time and its effects on our body, but it would be nice to not accidentally kill ourselves with an overdose of something we were taking to make us healthy.

So, what’s it going to be, ladies; broken hips or heart attacks?

Image via Ano Lobb.@healthyrx/Flickr

general health, health products


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nonmember avatar Sarah

Exercise! That will keep your bones and heart strong, and I don't think they'll ever do a study that will find it's not really good for you (unfortunately).

Mae Boyington

how can we believe anything that is told us anymore?

Requi... RequiemForAnAmy

Those are pretty hefty doses of calcium.

nonmember avatar Valerie

The problem seems to be from supplementation. The solution is quite simple, get calcium from real food sources. And as mentionned previously, exercise. Foods are best in their unprocessed version, it just seems logical that this would apply to vitamin supplements as well.

Kate Tietje

Having not read the study, I'd guess they were using a synthetic form of calcium.  Any synthetic supplement is going to come with risks.  Instead, consume foods that are naturally rich in calcium and make sure to balance it with foods naturally rich in magnesium, which prevents calcium toxicity.  That is another potential issue -- that the women were taking calcium, but were deficient in magnesium or vit D, which are needed to keep things in "balance."  Some research shows magnesium is really even more important than calcium in maintaining bone density and that too much calcium alone can hurt your bones.

Also, ironically, certain forms of exercise are, in fact, NOT good for you.  It's hard to keep up with all the conflicting health messages.  Just remember if it's synthetic, patented, or brand-named it is probably bad for you.  Eat real food, get moderate, low-impact exercise, and you will be fine.  If you truly need any supplements (as determined by a blood test in most cases), then choose a food-based supplement.

Elizabeth Slusar

Unless something has happened to your parathyroid glands you SHOULD be getting all the calcium you need from your daily diet, as well as all the other vitamins and minerals your body needs.

Michele Sipes

Not that hefty: the RDA for women 19-50 is 1000mg a day and the RDA for women 51+ is 1200mg a day. So it's not like women taking 600mg a day are choosing some arbitrary outrageously high dosage; it's less than the RDA. Even the 1400mg is only 200mg over RDA.

I agree with exercise being our best bet. However, even that can get complicated: it's recently been reported that a lot of cardio can actually do more harm than good for our hearts. I guess nothing is certain!

Crissi Parry

"In a recent study"?  Well, that sounds scientific.  Who's study?  The FDA's? A privately funded University?  Pharmaceutical compay?  I have some serious doubts about the legitimacy of a study that claims "calcium" is bad for you.  There are so many variables.  What forms of calcium?  Ages and weight of women?  Predisposition to heart disease?  Other supplements or drugs? 

nonmember avatar Naya

yeah, I'd like to see WHO did this scientific study. Calcium carbonate is the crap at the grocery stores, it's like swallowing carpet, is not absorbed by the body. Get your calcium from a whole food source like raw milk or home made bone broth. And DO NOT DRINK SODA. The carbonated water in soda eats away at your bones!

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