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Calcium and vitamin D supplements don't affect heart disease risk

Armen Hareyan's picture

Calcium, vitamin D supplementation neither increased nor decreased heart disease and stroke risk in generally healthy postmenopausal women over seven years of use.

While calcification in blood vessels and heart valves increases a person's risk for coronary events, the relationship between dietary calcium and cardiovascular events is uncertain.

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Researchers evaluated the risk of coronary and cerebrovascular events in 36,282 postmenopausal women in the Women's Health Initiative randomized trial of calcium plus vitamin D supplementation. The women were 50-79 years old. Half took 500mg calcium carbonate with 200 IU vitamin D twice daily; the other half took a placebo.

After seven years, the rates of heart attack and stroke were similar in both groups. There were 499 heart attacks and 362 strokes among women taking calcium/vitamin D and 475 heart attacks and 377 strokes among women taking placebo.

"Calcium and vitamin D supplementation did not increase the risk for heart attack, CHD death, stroke, coronary revascularization, hospitalization for chest pain, heart failure or transient ischemic attack," said the study authors. "Thus, women taking these supplements need not fear adverse cardiovascular consequences while protecting their bone health."